The number of Americans who follow a vegan diet has grown by 600% in the past three years. With this increase, we’ve seen the growing popularity of plant based meats, including beef substitute, plant meat chicken, and plant based pork. But vegans aren’t the main consumers of plant based meats. Here are some of the reasons for the growing popularity of plant based meat alternatives.
1. Plant Based Meats Aren’t Just for Vegans
Veggie burgers have been around for many years, but they were never supposed to taste like meat; they used to appeal primarily to vegetarians and vegans. Meat substitutes, such as plant based pork, are intended to taste like meat so that they will appeal to consumers who eat meat. The idea is that these consumers will replace some meat-based dishes with entrees made from plant-based meat alternatives.
Marketing experts and food researchers realized that meat substitutes don’t have to be aimed solely at vegans and vegetarians. Many Americans plan to continue eating meat, but they are also open to testing plant-based foods if they’re nutritious and inexpensive — and most importantly, if they taste good.
2. The Best Plant Based Meats Taste Great
Plant based sausages, ground beef, and burgers are a few of the most popular meat substitutes. Reviewers report that the best plant based meats not only taste like the real thing, but also offer appealing notes of flavor of their own. Many of the newest plant based meats on the market also provide a textural experience that’s comparable to the real thing. Some plant based options even “bleed” like real meat, making it possible to fool any meat-lover who tries a bite.
3. Plant Based Meats Meet Customer Demand
Even fast food restaurants are offering meatless burgers. Why is this happening? Experts in the food industry have observed that consumers are demanding healthier products that also have less of an environmental impact. This demand leads to publicity, which in turn leads to increased demand. What may have initially seemed like a fad is turning out to be a lasting trend. As the public clamors for good-tasting meat alternatives like plant based beef and plant based pork, meat substitutes have entered the mainstream. With increased publicity around these foods, consumers are learning that they do taste good, so they don’t have to view healthier meatless alternatives as a sacrifice.
4. Plant Based Meats Offer Health Benefits
Meat substitutes are great for consumers who are worried about the cancer risks associated with red meat. Those who are sensitive to antibiotics or growth hormones consumed by cattle don’t need to worry about these substances if they’re eating meat substitutes. The additional concerns about food poisoning and mad cow disease from undercooked meat are also eliminated by substituting with plant based meats. Anyone who wants to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can do so by choosing meatless substitutes like plant based pork from companies that make GMO-free products. Gluten-free plant based meats are also popular with health-conscious consumers.
5. Plant Based Meats are Better for the Environment
Raising plants as opposed to animals for consumption is much better for the environment: it saves on land and water usage and helps to combat global warming. Cultivating livestock for meat contributes significantly to greenhouse gases. As people become more concerned about the health of the planet, they are turning to meatless alternatives. An animal raised for meat consumes 10 plant calories for every calorie of meat it eventually provides, which is why plant-based meats have a much lower carbon footprint. As meatless substitutes like plant based pork become much more widespread, they have the chance to significantly benefit the environment.
6. Plant Based Meats Don’t Contribute to Antibiotic Resistance
Animals raised for meat in factory farms consume large amounts of antibiotics to cut down on illnesses that are commonly seen in close confinement. Bacteria have become resistant to these drugs, which is an enormous health issue in the U.S. and other countries.
7. Plant Based Meat Can Cut Down on Meat Consumption
There are several ideas about how to reduce meat consumption en masse. One is imposing a tax on meat, but the problem with this notion is that it would hit low-income consumers the hardest. Eliminating governmental subsidizing of the agribusiness industry would also make meat more expensive to produce and to purchase, but there is no end in sight for current subsidies.
If you’re interested in great-tasting meatless substitutes, visit our “Where To Find” page to learn which restaurants and stores carry our products.