Udayavni Special

Demand for Plant-based meat is skyrocketing during the pandemic: Is Plant-based meat the future of food?

Team Udayavani, Aug 15, 2020, 12:45 PM IST

Plant based meat is growing in popularity around the world. As most of the population turned vegan during the recent years, there has been high demand for plant based meat.

But, for the past one year, most people who are buying plant-based meats aren’t vegetarians or vegans. Retail sales of plant-based food are taking off during the coronavirus pandemic.

They are a healthier alternative to meat, while being vastly more sustainable and packing authentic flavors, aromas, and textures. Amid the pandemic, majority of the people feared to eat meat and leaned towards plant-based meat. Popular brands have dedicated labs and experts working to make plant-based meat taste and feel exactly like meat

Plant-based meats can come in the form of burgers, sausages, ground meat, crumbles, nuggets, even faux-seafood like shrimp and fish

According to Sentient Media, There are two types of plant based meat, whole muscle meat and restructured meat. Whole muscle meat products are designed to resemble a steak, chicken breast, or any other type of animal muscle. Restructured meat products are those that mimic products like ground beef, meatballs, sausages, and nuggets.

What goes into Plant based meat?

After years of experimentation, brands have developed convincing meat replacements with plant ingredients like soybean roots and pea protein. Common ingredients include grains and legumes, which are utilized for their proteins, fibers, and starches, which can be converted into isolates, flours, and concentrates.

Are they healthier than conventional meat?

Plant-based meats can be healthier since they contain no cholesterol. They also contain high amount of fiber which is not present in the conventional ones

It is said that consumption  of red meat leads to problems such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. By incorporating plant-based meats into their diet, people are able to cut down on their weekly meat consumption, improving their overall health in the process.

Also, plant-based meats are not filled with antibiotics and hormones that are fed to animals in factory farms.

Environment benefits?

If Meat consumption is reduced, the costs of health care and climate change would also decrease. Also, Livestock production holds association with approximately 18% of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

According to Nbc news, The two main companies making plant-based meat are the Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger. It is said the Beyond Meat burger uses 99 percent less water, 93 percent less land and 90 percent less fossil fuel emissions, the Impossible Burger uses 87 percent less water, 96 percent less land, and 89 percent less fossil fuel emissions than a quarter pound of regular ground beef.

Meat production also leads to deforestation, land degradation, and water contamination. It is said that producing one calorie of chicken requires nine calories of feed from crops. Dedicating some of this land to plant-based foods would reduce the amount of crop land required to feed the world.

Well, The high demand and small market makes alternative meat products available for a small sector of the world. In countries like US and UK, there is high consumption of beef. In India however, chicken and mutton are the most common meat consumed by people.

Plant based meat industries are now focusing on expanding their businesses globally and catering to needs of people all over the world. Although, there are already plenty of chicken substitutes, companies still need to explore the preferences of people throughout the world

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