With the global market approaching US$5.06 billion (HK$39.7 billion) in 2021, plant-based meat has taken off worldwide as an alternative protein over the past decade. Plant-based meats, along with tofu and tempeh, can be an additional choice for those looking to try a vegetarian diet or just starting out.
The World Health Organization defines six plant-based diets, ranging from strict vegetarian to pescetarian and flexitarian. Plant-based foods eaten throughout the day provide enough protein to meet calorie needs. Plant-based alternative meats offer vegetarians a more environmentally friendly and nutritious option. Popular brands that offer plant-based meats offer a diverse range of flavors and different nutritional profiles to meet the nutritional needs of a vegetable-centric diet.
Gardein’s plant-based meats can be a good option for vegetarians looking for textures and varieties. Some of its products contain up to 19 grams of protein and only 240 calories per serving. Plant-based meats range from ground beef, pork and fish fillets to soups and ready meals, and Gardein offers a convenient and easy way to maintain a green diet. However, the proteins in Gardein’s plant-based burgers come from peas, wheat protein, and grains like millet, quinoa, and amaranth, which require significant processing to be made into plant-based meats.
Beyond Meat offers vegetarians a wholesome diet. While the amount of protein and calories is comparable to Gardein burgers, the plant-based burger is rich in vitamins and minerals. Vegetarians can experience a deficiency in vitamin B12, a nutrient found primarily in meat that speeds up metabolism and is critical for nerve function. Beyond Burger provides a source of vitamins B6 and B12 and contains calcium, potassium, zinc and iron. The gluten-free meat alternative contains no soy, a healthy and environmentally friendly choice for vegetarians.
OmniFoods’ Omni Seafood range, such as B. Omni Crab Cake, uses a non-GMO soy formula and blends plant-based proteins with non-GMO soy and rice. Free from mercury, artificial colors, antibiotics and hormones, Omni Seafood offers an easy way to eat green. Omni Seafood is fortified with a supplement of Omega-3 ALA (EPA and DHA). With 437mg of Omega-3 ALA, Omni Ocean Finger provides the recommended daily allowance for healthy adults. Omega-3 ALA helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have found that EPA improves depressive disorders, which are more common in vegetarians.
However, some plant-based meats contain the bulking agent methylcellulose, an approved but controversial food additive, according to verywellfit.
See also: Plant-based meat is great for the planet, but is it good for you?