A healthier alternative to meat? What else do we want? Doesn’t it sound like an oxymoron? Plant-based meat is gaining popularity day after day and for good purposes. They are a good deal to buy as you get a healthier alternative. It has delicious flavours and aroma, a more sustainable option and amazing textures. It is in the race of eliminating our daily consumption of regular meat. The use of plant-based products help to make this meat. The creation takes place in such a way that completely is in a match with the regular meat related to all the features. The meat comes in various forms like sausages, burgers, nuggets, fish etc.
There are two types of meat which are meat in the restructured form and a lump of whole muscle meat. The making of whole muscle meat is in such a way that it replicates a chicken, a breast or a steak. The restructured meat replicates products like meatballs, nuggets, ground beef etc.
- Products made to replicate the characteristics found in meat- The companies replicate each feature ranging from texture to aroma to flavour. It gives exact feel of meat . Making a product that exactly mimics can involve a lot of complexities. The process is a bit difficult and cumbersome one. Pushing the plant-based materials to an extent that taste exactly like meat can be difficult to process.
- Products made to replace the meat but do not include the same characteristics- Due to the cumbersome process of replicating the features , many companies make plant-based meat but do not mimic the characteristics.
- Plant-based functional meat ingredients- People give utmost importance to texture and not the flavour in this category. People buy these products not for their flavours but texture. Companies use binding ingredients to obtain the texture. Both fresh and frozen products fall into this category.
- Mimics that occur naturally – These products are available naturally. As an alternative to meat, these products are in trend. They are similar to conventional meat in terms of protein count and textures. It is the fibre that helps to obtain the same texture of these plant-based meat products.
INNOVATION OPPORTUNITIES IN THIS INDUSTRY
- Discovery of plant-based proteins which include desirable properties
- Finding techniques that isolate the plant-based proteins
- Processing and manufacturing of proteins based on plants
- Proper facility for the distribution of plant-based meat products
There are many opportunities and ideas for innovations out there. These innovations can give a boost to this industry and help increase its sales. It can also increase demand among consumers and distribution in the market. These innovative ideas will help the companies to get the desirable properties and features. It will help the companies to mimic conventional meat products.
WHAT IS IT MADE OF?
A combination of ingredients when put together create a lump of plant-based meat. It depends on what type of meat is in the making and the company which is making it. The most common ingredients which form a part of this meat are legumes and grains. The fibre and starch present in them makes it popular. Conversion can be done into isolates and flours. Extrusion is a process popularly known. In this process ingredients go through different stages like shearing, cooking and hydration so that the ingredients replicate better to those of conventional meat and the unwanted tastes and aroma are eliminated. Other than this fermented is also a process which is used for more realistic products.
HEALTH COMPARISON – PLANT-BASED VS CONVENTIONAL
The reports have shown that excess consumption of red meat has its consequences which can range from normal high cholesterol, obesity to fatal diseases like cancer. The reports of the World Health Organisation showed that processed food items like sausages etc are carcinogenic and red meat is probably carcinogenic. In comparison to conventional meat, plant-based meats are a healthier option as they don’t contain cholesterol rather they have a good quantity of fibre which is an essential part missing from the conventional meat. Some meats contain hormones and antibiotics that are usually fed to animals, but plant-based meats do not make it a healthier and safe option any day. It keeps us safe from antibiotic resistance.
As the name suggests, plant-based meat is vegetarian but is it completely vegan? Some products are not vegan as they include eggs or any other dairy product to improve the texture or flavour of the product. One thing should always be on the mind of vegans especially and even the vegetarians that sometimes these products are served with non-vegetarian toppings, so they should be careful.
BENEFITS TO THE ENVIRONMENT
We all are aware of the fact that animal agriculture is highly unsustainable as it occupies 77% of the land in totality whereas the supply of food is way too minimal amounting to 20%. Compared to these reports, plant-based meat is highly sustainable and are not a threat to the climate in any way. It reduces the emission of green house gases by 90%. It eliminates other forms of pollution like water pollution etc.
WHY FUTURE OF FOOD?
- HUGE INVESTMENTS – Major meat producers want to invest in plant-based meat and it is here to leave a mark.
- INGREDIENTS – After many experiments, ingredients high in protein and nutrition have taken momentum.
- PRODUCT PLACEMENT- As plant-based meat will replace conventional meat in supermarkets and stores, the sales will increase.
- CONSUMER PREFERENCES- Consumers prefer alternatives healthy in nature. It gives them benefits and are sustainable making plant-based meat a good option
- HEALTH- As we discussed earlier, red meat causes many diseases, so plant-based meat will be a good alternative.
- WORLD HUNGER – Agricultural output gets affected because of climate changes so the availability of sustainable items is a big yes.
BENEFITS OF PLANT-BASED MEAT
- Conservation Of Environment- Less requirement of fresh water and it uses less agricultural land than animal agriculture uses. This leads to conservation of water also.
- Reduction in animal suffering- Shifting to plant-based meat can help save the lives of innocent animals. This will bring a change in the global economy and reduce animal suffering.
- Better Sleep- High-quality plant-based diet helps to sleep better at night which is one of many health benefits.
- Weight Loss- You can lose weight and maintain a healthy body If you consume more of plant-based meat full of nutrients and minerals.
- Less Chronic Diseases- Saturated fat lessens in this type of meat as more fibre is present in the diet and the risk of chronic diseases like cancer etc. reduces.
- Low Blood Sugar – The high amount of fibre in the plant-based diet causes less absorption of sugar thus reducing blood sugar.
- Low Cholesterol- Plants have no cholesterol.
- Increase Of Potassium- All plant-based products have potassium in them as compared to animals.
Consumers positive reception and demand over the last few years have shown that plant-based meats are here not only to stay but they could redesign the food business with healthier alternatives. Plant-based meats are the kind of change the world desperately needs at that time when the climate is creating havoc, and people have to go through adverse consequences due to the consumption of conventional meat. So for your next time visit to grocery stores, definitely go for plant-based meat as it is a healthier alternative, nutritious, more sustainable and environment friendly and a great deal for a good and healthy lifestyle.