Since people are becoming more conscious about the impact of meat consumption on our planet, we are beginning to shift our diets from “normal” to pescatarian, flexitarian, vegan, and so on and so forth. According to a recent study conducted at the University of Oxford, we should be eating 75% less beef and 90% less pork if we wanted to survive the global warming phenomenon, which is why people are starting to take action in this direction. If you are on the verge of becoming vegetarian yourself but enjoy your meat way too much to say stop, maybe fake meat is something you should consider.
That’s because nowadays, we are bringing about technologies that can create foods that we are craving for, in a hot second. Thus, we don’t need to worry about abstaining anymore, we can still enjoy our meat along with our side without feeling bad about it.
Dissolving interior dilemmas
First and foremost, one of the top reasons why fake meat constitutes the future is that it changes consumers’ perspectives and enhances the self-discovery and appreciation process. That’s because customers are not judging themselves for eating what their minds told them not to anymore – that is, meat. This is called cognitive dissonance and it is a widely popular phenomenon in psychology – it happens when people’s behaviors do not fit their beliefs.
Usually, the attitude changes to accommodate the behavior, but because there is such a huge meat debate going on today within the Western culture, these things are being discussed quite largely within our society. This can be an advantage for people who feel ready to make a change in their diets; however, for those who do not feel ready, the pressure might get to them and influence them in unhealthy ways.
For example, a desire to eat more of something without being able to get that something might turn into a subconscious obsession, which can do nothing but harm to consumers and their minds and bodies. That’s why fake meat acts as a perfect middle place for both parties: meat lovers can now enjoy meatless (and delicious!) burgers, while animal advocates can now stop blaming meat-eaters for their food choices. Fake meat is the middle way, the compromise, the place where meat lovers and animal supporters can finally meet and have a talk!
The ingredients of fake meat are easy to find
The ingredients needed to cook meatless meat are quite easy to find and prepare, so producers should not be concerned about spending extra time in the kitchen. One of the key ingredients is soy protein or vegetable protein, which must be exposed to acid or a solvent that can transform it into what it needs to be (and look like, reshaping it). Soy molecules must become more fibrous and thus be modified properly, according to Wash State University food science doctor, Barry Swanson.
Plant-based burgers will, therefore, contain water, salt, methylcellulose, copper sulfate, corn oil, caramel color (usually), wheat flour, dextrose, phosphates, sugar, and other textured ingredients made out of peas, mustard seeds, yeast, and camelina. As you can see, this is not the healthiest option, but it can definitely replace meat in a relatively quick manner (cooking time: about 30 minutes).
Fact: what’s great is that – after being processed and cooked for about one hour – these fake meat products taste exactly like meat, and that’s because producers have worked at bringing the same taste in them throughout the years.
At present, since plant-based products are made out of soybeans, tofu, lentils, and mushrooms (these are the main ingredients, at least), they are considered to be a healthier option than meat-based products. More than that, there are other things to consider when it comes to switching to a plant-based diet:
- Animal welfare – how animals are being treated nowadays is incredibly sad and outrageous. Many consumers are concerned about the practices applied to these poor creatures, which is why they are eager to go vegetarian or even fully vegan. Thus, fake meat is a better option.
- Healthier options – high consumption of meat brings high cholesterol and associated diseases, which is why meat should be never or barely consumed within a family. More than that, there is an increasing number of hormones injected within these animals that can affect our health and determine our bodies to function in unusual ways. Meat has also a high salt percentage, so this can also be triggering for many diseases.
- Our environment! – if you haven’t heard by now, cattle produce about 10% of all human-induced greenhouse gases, which is why we should pay more attention to these statistics and how egotistical thinking could influence our lives. By producing alternative meat options, we are conserving land and reducing food waste both in the short- and long term.
To make sure that fake meat is the new future, we need to look at these next questions and notice if they can be observed within our society:
- Are retailers interested in increasing fake meat consumption and helping with in-store replacement?
- Are restaurants interested in offering healthier options and thus, increasing the demand and production of these new products?
- What is the target audience? How can we change mindsets, especially when it comes to males ages 18-70 (the age/gender category in which meat consumption is the highest)?
Lower prices and tasty choices
According to a report outlined by the NGO Good Food Institute, plant-based meat could get cheaper than animal flesh. That is because companies such as Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat are keeping the prices relatively low to meet the demand and thus, increase production. We must remember that these companies are also purchasing their products from bigger supply chains since soy and peas are just some of the ingredients that they need. This is easier to get ahold of than land, cattle, or animal food, which is also cheaper in the long run.
The same GFI report states that there is expected to be an increase in the major production of plant-based meats and an exponential development in the manufacturing area, according to VegNews. This will reduce costs even more and increase production efficiency.
The new fake meat industry promises outstanding results and ideas to be implemented in the future. First of all, switching to these products can be highly beneficial for consumers, since most people do not agree or approve of how animals are being treated in order to be later used for consumption. Second, the ingredients that are being used to create fake meat are easy to find and relatively cheap, so this is another advantage of switching to these products.
Last but not least, the prices might lower and the taste might become better as industries are starting to see the advantage of investing in such products. Fake meat is the future because it helps us stay healthier and in shape, helps our environment, and it nevertheless helps animals!