Plant based meat, the alternative to meat

By Desmond Yu


CBS News

What is plant-based meat? Plant-based meat is protein built from parts of plants and it is specifically formulated to have the texture, taste, aroma, color, and mouthfeel of meat. Since plant-based meat comes from plants and not animals, they are supposed to help the environment, in contrast with regular meat, which wastes large amounts of natural resources in its production. Plant-based meat is usually made for vegans and vegetarians; however, 89 percent of people eating this new product aren’t vegan or vegetarian at all. In fact, these consumers just want  “more variety in their diet” instead of normal meat. That’s why there has been a growing demand for plant-based meat. Big food companies such as Smithfield, Tyson, Hormel, Nestlé, and Perdue have produced their own meat replacements, stockpiling supermarket shelves with plant-based chicken nuggets, burgers, and meatballs. As plant-based meat is becoming more and more common in people's diets, regular consumers are looking to eat less meat because of its health concerns and the damage it can have on the environment. Although it does help the environment,the claim that plant-based meat is healthier is false: plant based meat is just as bad as regular meat because of its sodium, calories and fat content. However, in the long term, plant based meat could cut down people’s  risk of heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes.


     Beyond Meat’s market price has risen dramatically, and Impossible Foods’ offer to supply plant-based Whoppers at Burger King has provoked a flood of fast-food chains to experiment with similar products. Surprisingly, lab-created meat alternatives and plant-based protein could potentially be worth as much as a whopping $85 Million by 2030. Companies are now trying to make veggie burgers taste like real meat. Companies are using pea proteins and genetically modified soy to try and bring the genuine taste of meat to plant-based products. The executive chief of Impossible Foods, Pat Brown, has long expressed his desire for a project producing artificial meat, as it's vital for the environment. Mr. Brown says, “Every aspect of the animal-based food industry is vastly more environmentally disruptive and resource-inefficient than any plant-based system.” He even has a deadline in mind and it’s surprising: to remove animal products from the world food supply by 2035. Impossible Foods is also trying to create new plant-based meat products such as “fishless fish”; however, fishless fish has failed to become a major player in the food industry so far.


     Over the summer of 2019, the company was not able to meet the increasing demand for its meatless patties, creating shortages at restaurants and making staff members overworked; sometimes employees had to work 12-hour shifts to keep the business’s manufacturing site in Oakland, California, alive. Overall, this plant-based “meat” is a good sign of the future and the public is loving it!