Plant-based meat - things that may instantly come to mind after hearing this term must be canned chickpeas, blocks of tempeh and tofu, and dried green lentils, which is only worse for meat-lovers worldwide. Up until a few years back, the only definition of meat as it cannot be plant-based.
Later, companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods introduced chicken-free strips and other meat substitute products as they wanted consumers to acknowledge the environmental and social impact of the food they consume. It should be noted that meat consumption, globally, escalated by 58% over the last 20 years until 2018 to hit 360 million tonnes, which may take a high toll on the environment in the forthcoming times.
Luckily, since when the companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat introduced meatless alternatives to the global markets, it has been the topic of interest among everyone, resultantly plant-based meat sales have elevated to a colossal 26 percent in the year 2018.
On the other hand, as per the research of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, a diet of excessive meat comes at a price, including an elevated risk of heart disease, colorectal cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and immense cholesterol levels. In particular, processed meat comprises high quantities of sodium, which has been associated with an enhanced risk of type-2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
It goes without saying it is an overwhelming time to be a vegetarian, but it is a more overwhelming time to not be vegetarian, as more and more meat-eaters are inclined towards flexitarian diets that require healthy as well as appetizing substitutes to meat.
The emerging trend of plant-based meat also introduced a new term “flexitarian or flexitarianism”, which means to incorporate vegetarian options into a diet of meat and fish. And remarkably, it comes with abundant health advantages.
Now, people might be wondering what this plant-based meat is actually made from, and what ingredients it consists of? Well, Heme is the major ingredient that is what plant-based meat makes it taste like traditional meat. Heme is a crucial molecule that can be found in every living animal and plant -- however especially richly in animals -- and that is something we all have been craving and eating since the beginning of mankind. At Impossible Foods, the plant-based heme is manufactured through the fermentation of genetically engineered yeast. The next thought you had in mind must be, is it safe? Yes, it is absolutely safe, as well as it is also sustainable.
Moreover, other ingredients found in plant-based meat might include coconut oil, wheat-based protein, and potato protein.
Following the trend as well as going animal and environment-friendly, many market giants are showing interest in plant-based meat and introducing their own meatless meat foods, for instance, Burger King introduced a meatless whopper recently as well as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, after introducing meatless burgers, are also serving some other plant-based meats like crumbles and sausages that are made to resemble, cook, and taste like ground meat.
Furthermore, they are also working on developing plant-based steak and bacon as well as fishless fish. On top of that, there are other players like Before the Butcher, LightLife, Abbott’s Butcher, and many more, which make plant-based meat like chorizo, patties, and crumbles. With so much buzzing in the space of plant-based meat, a new report by A.J. Kearney foresees that only 40 percent of the meat we eat by the year 2040 will come from animals, and the remaining 35 percent will come from lab-grown meat, and the other 25 percent will be derived from plant-based substitutes.
In other aspects, there are also questions regarding the nutrition of plant-based versions of meat and is it healthier than conventional meat. In terms of calories, the majority of plant-based meats are very much alike to traditional meats. The major differences between the two are that plant-based meats do not consist of any cholesterol, they are usually higher in sodium, and they have a small quantity of fiber which the conventional meat does not have any.
However, plant-based meat is a much better alternative in two crucial ways. Firstly, consumption of plant-based meat in the place of conventional meat can help us as an overall population to decrease the meat intake, which is currently too high. In the second place, plant-based alternatives are more environmentally-friendly, sustainable, and are better for both our animals and our planet.