While it’s almost like the term unprecedented was invented was for the year 2020, this article is to highlight the rise of something the very same year, something so unprecedented, it might just sound blasphemous to fanatic meat devotees!
Vegan meat is hot in the market and we can safely say, at least appearance-wise, it would be a pretty difficult job finding a contrasting feature from its clone. But how is this done? And is it really safe? What is the purpose behind doing this? Is it even worth the effort and investment? These are pressing questions that sure need concrete answers!
1. How is it done?
Meat is rich in protein and fat. In its plant-based counterpart, the protein component is obtained from plants that are laden with this nutriment - the legumes. The legumes are also generous enough to contribute to the fiber and starch components. Fat, on the other hand, is procured the green way from oils – coconut or sunflower. Another crucial component of meat is heme, a molecule rich in iron. It is this heme that provides cooked meat its tender, juicy texture, and here, it is synthesized using yeast. These nutrients are then processed and modified to mimic the appearance, flavor, and texture of real meat.
2. The purpose?
Upon thinking of the purpose, the first thing that could flash through our minds would be the magnanimity of the creators to ensure that the vegans aren’t missing out on their proteins. However, the creators had different plans. In retail stores across the US, these plant-based meat alternatives are placed not in the vegetable section, but the meat section, thereby urging the meat lovers to start trying out these greener alternatives! Plant-based meat provides consumers with meat options that are more sustainable, eco-friendlier, and of course tastier. Hence, with more people making the shift, we can push the real meat consumption a little down the slope and make the planet a safer place for our animals! However, looking into the calorific value, there doesn’t seem to be much of a disparate between the two options.
3. But safety first, right?
Yes, of course. And yes, this sustainable meat is safe. But is it healthier than real meat? In terms of nourishment, plant-based meat can’t be considered health-food as it would have the same fat, protein, and carb content as your conventional meat. As much as we would like to have tasty meat options infused with the goodness of veggies, we are not quite there yet!
4. Is it worth it?
The easiest answer to that would be taking into consideration the animals. A study by the Beyond Meat with Centre for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan has stated that a whole plant-based burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 45% less energy, has 99% less impact on water scarcity, and 93% less impact on land use than a quarter of a pound of traditional U.S beef. So yes, we can safely say that it is worth it.
Thus, it is no wonder that this industry is now vying exponential growth. In just a year since its inception, the retail sales for vegan meat grew to a net worth of 4.5 billion dollars in 2019 and is expected to cross 20 billion dollars by 2024, with several countries showing a keen interest in these alternatives.
What is your take on this alternate option? Let us know in the comments below!