The future of food is starting to change with the development of plant-based products, and this change could positively affect our environment. With the market for sustainable options growing, we can now expect to see a boost in the variety of plant-based products, like deli meats, sausages, and burgers in stores and restaurants. If you’ve been curious about trying plant-based for yourself, here are a few things to know about it:
Tofu, seitan, and tempeh are some of the first plant-based options to exist. A few have even been around for hundreds of years. To this day they remain as popular options for replacing meat, but companies are starting to pave the way for providing even more variety. Now you can find chicken, beef, and pork products that are completely made from plant material.
What exactly can be found in a plant-based product? The majority of plant-based meats use green and yellow split peas in the form of pea protein, which is rich in iron and other nutrients. Soy is also a common ingredient, commonly used in the form of a protein called leghemoglobin. This protein contributes to plant-based meat’s nutritional value while also giving products a “meaty” texture and flavor.
These ingredients may have you wondering about the taste, but plant-based meats are incredibly versatile, and don’t hold back when it comes to flavor. As far as tastes and textures go, companies are striving to make alternatives as close to real meat as possible. Most companies, like Impossible Burger and Beyond Meats, are beginning to master their craft and getting closer to recreating the real thing.
People may choose alternative meats for a variety of reasons. Some want to have the same taste of meat in their food, but also want to incorporate more plant-based options in their diets. Others may be eating less meat for health reasons. In some cases, choosing plant-based products may be a healthier alternative. Compared to real meat, plant-based meats are lower in cholesterol and contain less fats and saturated fats. Though the reasons for making the switch to plant-based may differ from person to person, a large portion of consumers are doing so in hopes of lowering their environmental impact.
Sustainability is one of the most appealing qualities of plant-based meats. A common concern with raising animals for meat is that it requires using a lot of land and water. Plant-based meats consume far less of these resources. Plant-based meats also have the potential to create a positive impact on climate change. The Good Food Institute reports that plant-based meats cause 30-90% less greenhouse gasses than animal meat.
As the market grows, we can expect plant-based products to become even more accessible to us. A recent market analysis shows the plant-based market valued at 3.3 billion USD in 2019, and projects its size to reach 13.8 billion USD by the year 2027. Soy products are amongst the most popular of plant-based options, currently holding the largest share of the market.
The Good Food Institute has also released these key consumer insights showing that more than 75% of consumers have tried plant-based meat or have expressed interest in trying it. Plant-based products are now being used in approximately 53% of households in the US. This organization has also identified several factors that will help increase the adoption of plant-based foods, with taste, price, and convenience being the primary drivers.
You can find plant-based meats in the refrigerated or freezer sections of most major grocery stores. Products like ground meat, hot dog links, and even plant-based shrimp can also be found in your store’s meat and seafood departments. If you’re looking for an even easier way to try plant-based, these alternative meats are making their way into popular restaurant chains. Companies like Dunkin introduced the Beyond Sausage Sandwich last year, and Burger King is one of the first fast-food chains to offer a plant-based burger, the ‘Impossible Whopper’. Competitors are already looking into ways to introduce their own plant-based versions. Taco Bell, already a popular option amongst vegans and vegetarians, just announced the testing of a new plant-based meat to expand their options even further.
It can be tough to cut back on eating meat, but there are plenty of alternatives to try that might make the process easier. If you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact and the amount of meat in your diet, here are some products we like to help get you started:
Simulate® Nuggs (Original and Spicy)
Field Roast Classic Smoked Plant-Based Frankfurters
MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles