It seems like every month there's a new plant-based meat alternative on the market. In 2020 the world-wide plant-based meat market was $5.6 billion and is expected to grow by 15% through 2027.
Since 2015, plant-based meat substitutes that mimic the taste, texture, and appearance of animal products have exceeded 4400 products worldwide. Veggie burgers have been around for years – since 1982 when London-based natural foods restaurant owner Gregory Sams introduced the "VegeBurger." The first veggie burgers were made from lentils, a variety of vegetables, nuts, and seeds and didn’t taste anything like a beef burger.
Today the focus is on replicating the taste and texture of meat using plants plus the latest technology, moving away from the traditional veggie burger and toward highly-processed foods.
What Ingredients are in Plant-Based "Meats"?
Manufacturers use a variety of ingredients to make plant-based "meats," including:
- Wheat gluten
- Wheat seitan
- Pea protein
- Potato starch
- Various types of oils
- Different types of starches (these act as binders to hold everything together)
- Commercial flavoring and colors
- Fermented, genetically engineered yeast
But are these meat alternatives better for your health than actual meat? Find out in the post Are Plant-Based "Meats" Healthier than Meats?
By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CPT, CHWC
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.