According to some estimates, animal products such as beef, poultry, and pork accounts for 30% of all calories consumed globally by humans. Plant-based meat substitutes account for a sizable amount of these values as well. A 2021 research assessed the nutritional quality of 37 market-available plant-based mince products. The study revealed that plant-based meat products outperform their counterparts in nutritional benefits.
So, what exactly are plant-based products? Does scientific approach lead to a sustainable, and healthy eating habits?
Plant-based meats are dietary protein substitutes with nutritional value, taste, and appearance like animal meat. Most families consume animal meat for its protein content, we can produce meat sustainably by excluding consumption of animal food products, and alternatively consuming plants foods.
Plants are also known to be better for the environment with low water consumption, less land usage, and less green house gas emission compared to animal counterpart.
Plant-based meats are vegan or vegetarian alternatives to animal protein, with substitutes to meat products like: Burger patties, Chicken, ground meat, sausages, etc.
Is it a Research Driven Approach?
The idea of plant-based meat is not a new one. For ages, the availability and diversity of plant-based meat have progressively risen. Early plant-based meats did not precisely reproduce or bio mimic traditional meat in taste, and texture. However, there has been an increase in research in developing and manufacturing plants to farmed meat in the last decade.
Various research practices like wet-fractionation, and appropriate pea formulations are being used to develop high moisture meat analogues. Often referred to as juicy meats.
Many substitute meat producers, such as Vita Plant, are also concerned about the nutritional value, taste and texture of their products. By applying appropriate formulations, and methods like wet, and dry fractionation to plant protein production. They concentrate their research on acquiring vegan, and flexitarian consumer feedback and using that data to improve the taste, texture, of alternate meats.
Despite market development in plant-based meals, plant-based meat accounts for less than 1% of the retail meat industry. There is still a noteworthy need for further research and development for plant-based foods to become a significant portion of the global protein needs in the following decades.