Understanding the Best Meat Alternatives for Vegans (2021)

What can replace meat in your diet? Here is your answer!

Best Meat Alternatives for Vegans (2021)

Historically, meat as a food resource has an immense contribution to human evolution and subsequent development. With the passage of time, meat has become an essential food in our daily meals.

Meat is enriched in protein, which is essential for various physiographic functions of the Human Body. But, have you ever thought of meat-less foods which are equally beneficial as meat? What are the best meat alternatives in 2021?

Why are meat alternatives important?

The global population is rising like never before and most probably will touch the 9 billion mark, as early as 2050. So, as per estimation, we may require at least double the amount of meat we are producing now.

And, if we plan to increase the production of meat for future demands, then we have to arrange a large scale of lands and water resources for the sustainability of livestock farming.

Due to the gap between the present scenario and future demands, it becomes evident to find meat alternatives as protein sources to fulfill our requirements. 

Consequently, to increase the required protein supply in our daily lives, we are propelling towards finding meat alternatives and for this, we did comprehensive research to understand the best Meat Alternatives for the coming future.

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Plant based meat

What is plant based meat?

As the name suggests, Plant-Based meats are extracted from different plants, like wheat, soybean, oilseeds, legumes, and fungi.

Plant based meat is the oldest food served in human civilization, for example, Tofu which was first consumed in 965 BC, and wheat gluten in different parts of the ancient world.

The main objective of meat consumption is to increase nutritional value, and plant-based food provides similar benefits. Based on the nutritional intact, the Wheat and soybean proteins are the most consumed ones.

Wheat has 8% to 17.5% Gluten protein that is produced during wet processing. When gluten is heated at 85°C, it coagulates and forms a gel without losing the structural order. Thus, it molds to become meat.

Meanwhile, Soybean protein comes from leguminous plants such as peas, clover, alfalfa, etc. Soybean has a higher nutritional value with 35% to 45% of protein, 30% carbohydrates, 15% to 20% of fats, and essential minerals such as Fe, Zn, etc.

Read More: Benefits of Plant Based Meat Alternatives

PLANTSPROTEIN
Wheat, BarleyGluten
LegumesGlycinin, Vicilin
Soybeanβ-conglycinin
Oil SeedsAlbumins, Legumin, Globulins, Glutelins
FungiMycoprotein
Table 1: Plants and Protein present in them

Why plant based meat is the future?

Meeting the demands of traditional meat is a challenge. Plant-based meat undergoes spinning, steam texturization, and thermoplastic extrusion processes to improve the texture and flavor.
Also, the introduction of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) formed using various plant-based ingredients, which eventually is similar to the traditional meat. The TVP forms from the by-products of starch using fungi, which have a structure like the muscle fibers of meat with an almost similar texture. 

Edible insects

Insects contribute to a large population on Earth, and in most countries, they are consumed as food. As per a study, among the 2000 species, around 113-countries consume insects in their meal.

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Insects carry high valuable protein with amino acids, which are sufficient for our daily requirements. But, due to the bad image of insect-eating, these are not part of food in western nations.

Why should we eat insects? It’s the future of food?

The nutritional value of insect-based food is higher than most plant-based foods. Also, the nutritional value varies depending on the species. Here we have listed the nutritional composition value of protein in various insect species.

What is the nutritional value of insects?

INSECTSPROTEIN CONTENT (%)
Cricket, Grasshoppers, Locusts61.32
Cockroaches57.3
Dragonflies55.23
Flies49.48
True Bugs48.38
Ants, Bees46.47
Butterflies, Moths45.38
Beetles, Grubs40.69
Termites35.34
Nutritional value of all insects chart

Should we all be eating insects?

If I have to answer it in one word: It has to be a big YES. 

Many studies have encouraged the consumption of insects in our diet. Insects like Cricket, Grasshoppers, and Locusts are extremely rich in protein. However, not every insect is edible; therefore, you should carry out some basic research before attempting to eat something strange.

What is the most common way to eat insects?

Despite all the efforts, eating insects is considered a gross idea. However, for consumption purposes, people are now preferring protein powder made from insects.

The insects are formulated into a powder form which is easy to store because the volume decreases from the original product. The powder form is added in the food to increase the nutritional content.

Also, oil processing methods can extract proteins from insects, and after addition, it will enhance the nutritional value of regular edible food. Therefore, one alternative can come to light in moving towards a meat-less food society.

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CULTURED MEAT

What is cultured meat?

Cultured meat is also known as lab-grown meat, and it is the latest technology growing in the meat alternative industry. 

Going back in history, the idea of Cultured meat came up in 1932 by Winston Churchill. His ideology was to use tissue reengineering techniques to produce cells for medical purposes.

A similar idea of advanced technology inputs started applying in the food manufacturing industries. However, cultured meat faces difficulties entering into commercialization due to its mass production and costing.

What are the advantages of cultured meat?

Technically, the cultured meat will prevent infectious disease, contamination, and antibiotics abuse, although, it is still in the developmental stage.

Once cultured meat replaces traditional meat, it can offer the same taste and texture to the consumers. Also, it will help the meat industries to produce meat in more quantity.  

The crucial benefit of cultured meat over traditional meat is its similarities, and it would preferably be environmentally sustainable.

Editor’s View

Without any doubt, it is evident that traditional meat provides more protein than any other food form. Due to the increase in demands, there will be a shift in consumer perception according to the availability of the resources, which would lead to the development of meat alternatives.

Also, to support the supply of traditional meat, plant-based, edible insects or cultured meat can play a supportive role.

In the future, there are chances that we can process artificial meat made of plant-based, insect-based, or cultured meat, and probably they can offer the same texture and taste to the consumers.

#BleedGreen

4 thoughts on “Understanding the Best Meat Alternatives for Vegans (2021)”

  1. Kunal Maharana

    Informative…. This can bring food revolution for Non-vegetarian lovers and the nutrients data provided makes it more reliable

  2. Pingback: Nutrigenomics could be the future of healthy living | eLifePress

  3. Pingback: 5 Best Meat Alternatives For Vegetarians - BleedGreen

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