Mordor Intelligence’ report on the North American plant Protein market hinted at many new opportunities in the vegan protein industry. Here, we look at how companies are helping burger lovers all lead a healthier and eco-friendlier lifestyle.
Imitation Meat is one of the latest trends in the food industry. Produced using plant-based protein, imitation meat looks, feels and even smells like real meat. Moreover, growing health concerns and increasing environmental consciousness, among others, have led to the rapid development of this food category.
Most Americans love burgers, but the scrumptious beef patty contains excessive amounts of animal fat and cholesterol. As obesity is a national health concern, consumers become increasingly conscious of what they are consuming and how it’s affecting their health.
Unlike animal protein, plant-protein doesn’t release excess methane into the atmosphere, making it a healthy and eco-friendly option. Methane has the potential to have a 23 times higher effect on the environment than other greenhouse gases like CO2. As plants don’t release methane into the environment, consuming plant protein is the best way to change our eating habits and protect the environment.
Recently, a research team at Impossible Foods and a small-time Silicon Valley start-up Beyond Meat produced a vegan burger, ensuring burger lovers can indulge in their favorite food without having to live with the guilt of endangering their body or the environment. The new plant protein burger, which contains a low amount of fat, a high amount of protein and zero cholesterol, is much healthier than its traditional counterpart, the beef burger. Additionally, producing a plant-based protein burger is more cost-effective than producing a meat burger.
The consumption of animal protein has increased, and the amount of available meat isn’t enough to meet this growing demand. According to the FAO, meat consumption is expected to increase by 1.2% in developed countries and by 2% in developing countries. Moreover, a consumer research survey found that about 36% Americans prefer alternatives to both milk and meat. All these factors compel organizations to focus more on vegan meat trends.
Impossible Food has raised USD 182 million in equity since its launch in 2012. Beyond Meat, its fierce competitor, has also received venture capital from around the world, including an investment from software tycoon Bill Gates.
Replacing meat with plant protein is not easy. These companies have invested in hi-tech research and innovation in product development that focuses on sensory attributes. Impossible Foods included coconut oil and potato protein in their vegan patty to create that firm texture of meat. When the patty is fried, the coconut oil oozes out, much like fat from a beef patty.
Plant proteins are highly nutritious. And, it comes as no surprise that pea, soy, potato, wheat, hemp and canola plant proteins are highly sought after. Pea and soy proteins give tough competition to products that contain animal protein. However, their taste and texture is much different from meat protein, which is one of the main challenges for companies producing plant-based protein products. This has led to a stagnation in the plant protein market.
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