As the global market stands at US$5.06 billion (HK$39.7 billion) in 2021, plant-based meat has prevailed as an alternative protein worldwide in the past decade. Plant-based meat can be an extra choice besides tofu and tempeh for those who want to try or have just started a vegetarian diet.
The World Health Organization defines six plant-based diets that range from strict vegetarian to pescatarian and flexitarian. Plant foods consumed throughout the day provide enough protein to meet calorie needs. Alternative plant-based meat offers vegetarians a more eco-friendly and nutritious option. Popular brands offering plant-based meats provide a diverse range of flavours and different nutritional profiles to suit the dietary needs of a vegetable-centric diet.
Gardein’s plant-based meat may be a good option for vegetarians looking for textures and varieties. Some of its products contain as much as 19 grams of protein and as low as 240 calories per serving. Plant-based meat varieties range from grounded beef, pork, and fish fillets to soup and ready-to-go meals, and Gardein provides a convenient and easy way maintain a green diet. However, proteins in Gardein’s plant-based burgers derive from pea, wheat protein, and grains such as millet, quinoa, and amaranth, which requires significant processing to be formed into plant-based meats.
Beyond Meat provides wholesome nutrition to vegetarians. While the amount of protein and calories are comparable to Gardein’s burgers, its plant-based burger is rich in vitamins and minerals. Vegetarians may experience a deficiency in vitamin B12, a nutrient predominantly found in meat that speeds up metabolism and is crucial to nerve function. Beyond Burger delivers a source of vitamins B6 and B12 and contains calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron. The gluten-free meat alternative contains no soy, a healthy and eco-friendly choice for vegetarians.
Using non-GMO soy formula, OmniFoods’ Omni Seafood series, such as Omni Crab Cake, blends plant-based proteins with non-GMO soy and rice. Omni Seafood is free of mercury, artificial colours, antibiotics, and hormones, offering an easy way to a green diet. Omni Seafood is enriched with a supplement of Omega-3 ALA (EPA and DHA). Providing 437 mg of Omega-3 ALA, Omni Ocean Finger provides recommended daily intake for healthy adults. Omega-3 ALA helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have found EPA improves depressive disorder, which occurs more frequently in vegetarians.
However, according to verywellfit, some plant-based meats contain the bulk-forming laxatives Methylcellulose, an approved food additive, but controversial.