The recent years have seen a rise in environmentally cautious diets. People are focused on cutting down animal-based products not just for their health but also to reduce their carbon footprint. One animal product alternative that has hit the market today is plant-based meat. With Big fast-food chains such as McDonalds and Burger King adapting this meat alternative, and some people are now calling it the ‘future of the food’ here’s a guide to plant-based meat.
What is plant-based meat?
Plant-based products are made from plant materials designed to mimic meat in factors such as taste, texture, smell, and appearance. Plant-based meats can come in various forms such as burgers, sausages, ground meat, crumbles, nuggets, even faux-seafood like shrimp and fish, and use one, or a combination, of alternative protein ingredients. These are available in supermarkets or even online.
What are these plant-based meats made of?
Plant-based meats can be made of different plant ingredients depending on what brand id manufacturing it. However, some common elements include grains, legumes, soy, pea, mung bean, faba bean, brown rice, coconut oil ( for the fat), beet juice extract, apple extract (for coloring), and potato starch.
Are these alternatives as healthy as their conventional counterparts?
These alternatives are made with ingredients that satisfy the nutritional requirements of meat products. Hence in terms of nutrition, these plant-based alternatives will not cause any deficiency of nutrients (however it’s essential to read the labels of the products before purchasing them and making the switch). Studies have shown that these meat-based alternatives are sometimes healthier than conventional meat. This is because they contain no cholesterol whatsoever while containing high amounts of fibre – a nutrient sorely missing from many meat-centric diets, since traditional meat is entirely lacking in fibre.
Here are some Indian companies that sell plant-based meat:
- Veggie Champ is its Delhi-based frozen food brand established in 2008 and instated to offer vegetarian meat to people who wouldn’t require to give up heart entirely and also to contribute to the environment. They currently have alternatives to fish, mutton, chicken and have vegan hot dogs, salami, Nawabi kebab for both vegetarians and vegans, without having to compromise while also trying something new.
- Vegeta Gold is another company that joined the mock meat market with the intent of providing alternatives to fish, mutton, and chicken but packed with the same nutrition levels and taste. The main ingredients in driving this change are soya, textured vegetable proteins, isolated soy proteins, and mushroom. Their products Roasted Soyato and Soyato Fillet among others are next to chicken and fish fillets in palatability but come with a purpose, to reduce the hazardous output meat industry generates every year in producing meat.
- Good Do—The Vegan Eatery is a Udaipur-based company providing wraps, meals, starters and ‘gurbers‘: an in-house vegetarian speciality consisting of burgers with patties and kebabs. They also offer meals that are rich in protein, environment-friendly, and cruelty-free. The company says that their plant-based meat meals benefit consumers with higher protein and calcium fulfilment, and lower fat consumption as opposed to animal-based proteins.