The concern and empathy towards plants, animals and the environment has been a global observation that has been witnessed during the course of the present crisis. Post-pandemic we are becoming more conscious towards the choice of the food we consume, and there is an urgent need to shift towards a vegan diet.
On the consumer side this means that the focus is on “mindful eating”, and this in turn also contributes to a clean and green environment.
This is where the role of plant-based meat emerges.
And if you hear people saying “green is not tasty, ”- think again.
Plants-based meats: Gaining traction, how and why
Plant-based meats are made to mimic properties found in animals like chicken, goat etc. They offer the same taste and appearance as meat. These foods are vegan and are considered to be the better meat alternatives.
The best part of these foods is their rich protein content. They utilize pea protein or soy protein concentrate in burgers, both of which closely mimic the texture and taste of real meat.
Some of the most common ingredients in plant-based meat are beans, soy, oats, quinoa, vegetable proteins, wheat gluten, spices, coconut oil and beet juice extracts.
One reason they are getting traction and preferred over meats is the transition towards more plant-based diets that are in line with standard dietary guidelines. They could reduce global mortality by 6–10 percent and food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 29–70 percent compared with a reference scenario in 2050 (Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change co benefits of dietary change authored by Marco Springmann, Charles J. Godfray, Mike Rayner and Peter Scarborough).
The impact of plant based food on our health has been studied globally that confirms an unhealthy diet adds to the global burden of diseases.
Those who prefer eating plants and fewer animal meats could prevent 10.9 to 11.6 million premature deaths from heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions every year, study report from The Lancet. The report also says that non meat eaters have 22 percent lower risk of coronary artery diseases. As a proportion of total deaths from all-causes, CVD in the Asia–Pacific region ranges from less than 20 percent in countries such as Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia to 20 to 30 percent in urban China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Malaysia.
Two emerging risk factors for Cardiovascular disease or heart related disease and certain cancers include
trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
Meat eaters can accumulate carnitine and choline which are the precursors of TMAO.
Vegans and vegetarians have been reported to have lower TMAO and IGF-1 than meat eaters.
Animal meats tend to have a higher footprint than plant-based foods. Meat and dairy specifically accounts for around 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (FAO). There are massive differences in the GHG emissions of different foods studied by the scientists. For instance, producing a kilogram of beef emits 60 kilograms of greenhouse gases (CO2-equivalents) while peas emits just 1 kilogram per kg. Lamb and cheese both emit more than 20 kilograms CO2-equivalents per kilogram. Poultry and pork have lower footprints but are still higher than most plant-based foods, at 6 and 7 kg CO2 equivalents, respectively.
A recent study published in New Scientist magazine reveals that each person can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases from their diet that contributes to climate change by up to 60 per cent just by becoming a vegan.
Scientists recommend that if the world is to meet its target of limiting global warming to well below 2 degree Celsius , a diet shift will be necessary. If it is to strive for the most optimistic target of keeping warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, changes to diet may be even more crucial. And so, going vegan would be indeed a mindful step.
Pic credit: Grantham Institute climate change and environment
Plant-chicken food market: A reality check post-Covid
Big and famed meat companies are now selling plant-based burgers or other plant-based products. This is also a trend in the poultry industry and amongst dairy companies. They have also started investing in plant-based eggs where the sources are beans and plant based milk made from soya, oats, or other plants.
These three leading food industries are rethinking their operation post pandemic to meet changing consumer’s demand for vegans. Contribution of Nutrition scientists, health experts, advocates and health journalists are important in making the shift towards people’s food selection.
Health first is the new mantra for everyone! The alternative meat industry is estimated to be worth $140 billion by 2029 ~ Barclays.
DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (NYSE: DuPont) and IPSOS, a global market research firm published a new research study that shows a significant increase in demand for plant-based meat alternatives in key Asia Pacific (APAC) markets.
Driven by consumer values around health, taste and sustainability. The demand for plant-based meat is forecasted to increase by 200 percent over the next five years in China and Thailand. This trend is replicated more widely across the entire APAC region.
The study also revealed that
Over the next five years it is expected a 25 percent increase in the plant-based meat markets.
75 percent of APAC consumers are willing to pay a similar price to meat for plant-based alternatives.
78 percent believe that plant-based meat alternatives are here to stay, and consumption of plant-based products will continue to grow in the future.
Three Asian food companies offering plant-meats
- Karana, founded by Blair Crichton and Daniel Riegler in 2018
Karana is a Singapore food start-up claiming Asia’s first whole-plant-based meat brand. They have launched the company with a mission to make delicious whole plant food that won’t leave post guilt for eating more of it. Much attention was given to make people feel excited and inspired about the concept of plant’s meat.
Its flagship product — a pulled pork substitute is made entirely from vegan source, Jackfruit.
Karana is deeply passionate about transforming the food industry to address climate and environmental issues. The team is set out to make taste amazing and sustainable.
The food products have been developed following four core principles
- Minimal processing
- Sustainably sourced
- Free from artificial colors and flavors
- Short ingredient lists
Karana’s food product is sold in Whole Foods, Fairway and other grocery-store chains across the country, as well as on Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and Walmart.com.
THE FUTURE IS PLANT-BASED
We’re so proud to be making the next generation of plant-based products and proving once and for all that meat-free can be mouth-wateringly tasty.
We’ll be working hard to continue making minimally processed whole-plants, offering you the experience of eating something that closely replicates meat and offering a sourcing story that you can feel great about supporting (and Dan, Co-founders)
2. Blue Tribe Foods, founded by Nikki Arora Singh and Sandeep Singh in 2020, Mumbai, India
Blue Tribe wished to see Indian consumers eat healthy and that too without creating environmental damage. So, this food company has launched plant-based ‘chicken’ nuggets that mimic the taste, texture, and appearance of real chicken nuggets. By using plant proteins from Peas and Soya, their products deliver greater or equal levels of protein than their animal-based counterparts.
The company also claimed that their ingredients require less land, water and carbon emission to the environment. The protein sources available with no GMOs (Genetically modified organisms), no hormones, no antibiotics and no cholesterol. This makes a complete healthy pack of food for the people.
Blue Tribe is currently serving Mumbai, Delhi, Pune. Blue Tribes making are food choice worth by helping with
Less Greenhouse gas emission
18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture. It is one of the largest contributors to global warming and climate change
60% of land under cultivation is growing food for animals today. With demand set to increase, more forests will be cut down to make way for pastures, leaving wildlife at risk of extinction.
Eating meat is the most inefficient way of consuming calories. Producing meat per kg needs 8X times more resources as compared to plant based products.
80% of the antibiotics produced are to prevent animals from getting sick when housed in industrial sized farms to which bacteria have grown immune, overtime.
Consumers can order the plant-based nuggets via the company’s website in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
3. Let’s plant meat, outgrew from Nithi Foods Company in 2020, Thailand
The company’s hot selling products are plant-based burger patties and plant-based minced meat.
Their plant-based meat products are made of 4 plants, namely soy (from Non-GMO source), rice, coconut, and beetroot. While the recipe is designed to suit Asian cooking like stir-frying, steaming and curry, Seasoning is done using real herbs & spices.
With the growing local demands of healthier foods and more environment friendly products in Thailand, Let’s plant meat have added over 300 supermarkets across Thailand.
The company’s focus on plant- based food derived from the concern of limited resources of land and water and to safeguard the environment.
83 percent of farmland is used to feed livestock. It can take up to 25 kg of plants to make 1 kg of beef. We do not have a second planet to grow our food.
27 percent of fresh water consumption is used for meat and dairy. To produce 1 kg of beef uses 15,000 liters of water. Our freshwater resources are depleting fast.
14.5 percent of greenhouse gases (GHG) emission comes from livestock. GHG raises global temperature. The melting polar ice cap and rising sea level is the major concern.
Convenience in buying will allow the products to grow faster, says Smith Taweelerdniti, CEO of Let’s plant meat. The food company is planning for more frozen items by this year. Their R&D is also tracking other protein platforms like alternative eggs and cheeses.
Plant-based meat is undoubtedly a healthier option as compared to meat. Of course, moderation is the key. When we talk about mindful eating. It’s not just how that food is going to impact your healthy life but, also to the environment you are in. Shifting to plant-based diets have been widely recommended for health and environmental benefits.
Contribute: Do write to us about any wellness program in your company that has led to noticeable gains for your employees, at firstname.lastname@example.org