Move over portobello mushroom “burgers”. Step aside cardboard-esque veggie sausages. Lay down your sword, dry fake chicken breasts! The days of depressing and tasteless plant-based meat are well and truly over…
From big fat juicy plant-based burger whoppers to crisp and sizzling smokey facon, from thick hunks of seitan to tropical fresh jackfruit, in this day and age, the world of plant-based meat is a beautiful, beautiful place. So beautiful in fact, the global plant-based meat industry is estimated to be worth a gigantic 7.9 billion USD in 2022.
And guess what… this number is only growing. This industry is estimated to double by 2027!
So, as more and more plant-based meats begin lining your supermarket shelves, you may be wondering, why is plant-based meat gaining so much popularity? Let us unpack it for you.
Here’s everything you need to know about why everyone's going crazy for plant-based meats…
Why is Plant-Based Meat Gaining Popularity?
When you are doing your weekly shop, you may have noticed that what used to be the sparsest section of the supermarket has exploded into full-on aisles of plant-based meat heaven. What’s behind this epic growth of the plant-based meat market? Here are 4 reasons plant-based meats are gaining popularity…
1. More vegans!
Firstly, to understand the expansion of plant-based meat, we have to think about the expansion of plant-based clientele.
Ipsos research suggests that veganism in the US has increased over 30-fold over the last 20 years. In 2004, there were just 290,000 vegans in the US. In 2019 this number increased to 10 million… and that was 3 years ago!
So, it isn’t rocket science. As more and more people become more conscious of the ethical and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, more and more people are committing to veganism for good. What does this mean? It means that the plant-based meat industry has expanded to meat the demand - pun intended. It’s as simple as that!
2. Plant-based meat may be a healthier option
But - plot twist - these days it ain’t just vegans who are enjoying plant-based meat. Why is that, I hear you ask? Because plant-based meat does more than just cater to the dietary requirements of vegans.
Let’s talk about the realities of animal meat products. More often than not, these products are extremely high in fat and cholesterol. That’s why your doctor may advise against indulging yourself in a big beef burger. Plant-based meat offers an alternative.
Plant-based meat is often much lower in cholesterol than real meat, while still being high in protein. It also often contains more fiber and less fat.
Obviously, the health benefits of plant-based meat depend on the product since they are still processed foods, however, this does mean that switching to plant-based meats may be the secret to enjoying meaty meals, worry-free!
3. Plant-based meat may be the environmentally friendly option
One topic that is hot on everyone’s lips at the moment? The environment. In this day and age, more and more people are becoming aware of the effect humans have on the planet we live on, and because of that, they want to make choices that minimize this impact.
That’s where plant-based meat comes in. Did you know that plant-based meat is less water-intensive than normal meat? The Vegetarian Butcher’s burger meat alternatives use 70% less when compared to UK-pasture-based beef. Impressed? Well, The production of plant-based meat can also produce fewer greenhouse gases! For example, research into the Impossible Burger suggested that the carbon footprint of this plant-based meat was 89% less than that of a meat burger!
What does this mean? It means that as more and more plant-based meats are created which mimic the taste and texture of real meat, meat eaters are switching to these plant-based meats not just as a healthier option, but as a more sustainable one.
4. Plant-Based Meat just keeps getting Better and Better!
A few years ago, switching to a plant-based diet may have felt like a depressing downgrade. Those days are over. As more and more people have committed to the vegan lifestyle, more and more people have committed to making that lifestyle worth living, with culinary innovations in the vegan food world, like plant-based meats.
From Beyond Meat and Impossible alternatives that replicate the taste and texture of real meat almost to a tee, to Field Roast and The Be-Hive alternatives that experiment with new flavors, they all share one common denominator - they’re great tasting plant-based meat!
Not only that, but the variety of plant-based meat on offer just keeps getting better. In fact, nowadays it's hard to find a meat product that doesn’t have a great plant-based alternative! We’re talking plant-based nuggets. We’re talking vegan jerky. We’re even talking plant-based salami. You name it, we’ve got it!
And, as plant-based meats just get tastier and tastier, it’s no wonder that more and more people are enjoying opting to add them to their basket!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is plant-based meat made of?
Just like there are lots of different types of meat, there are lots of different types of plant-based meat. In fact, there are a lot more different types of plant-based meat, because a regular beef burger is only going to be made of one thing (beef), but a vegan beef burger may be made of a whole range of delicious ingredients.
These ingredients include different types of grain, proteins (such as soy or wheat), and vegetables. Some big names in the plant-based meat world include seitan (made from wheat gluten), jackfruit (a tropical fruit with a meaty texture), and Beyond Meat (made from pea proteins, rice, and beans).
Is plant-based meat healthy?
The nutrients in plant-based meat are different from real meat products, and often they will contain much less cholesterol, making them healthier meat alternatives. However, plant-based meat can be made of all sorts of different ingredients, so the nutrients in plant-based meat will vary massively from product to product.
That’s why it's always important to check the packaging and pick the product that suits your dietary requirements.
Does plant-based meat mean vegan?
These days, the words ‘plant-based’ and ‘vegan’ are used pretty much synonymously, but, what is the difference? Well, the difference is that, while ‘veganism’ implies a full lifestyle driven by ethical choices, plant-based more specifically applies to the food you eat being made entirely from plant-based sources. However, this does mean that, when we’re talking about plant-based meat, we can be assured that it will also be vegan!
To wrap it all up…
So, it’s pretty clear that there’s good reason why more and more people are choosing to enjoy the benefits of plant-based meats. With the vegan meat industry packed with all kinds of delicious plant-based meat options which may be healthier, more ethical, and just as tasty as their meat equivalents, it’s a no brainer really. Our advice? Stock up your cupboards with some plant-based meats and taste the benefits for yourself.