Maybe you are on a meat-free diet right now or you haven’t been able to find meat on the market shelves for the past few weeks. Or you tried a vegetarian hamburger menu at a local restaurant and although you liked it at first, you had another meat-containing burger later. Regardless of the situation, Americans have recently been consuming alternative protein foods instead of meat. So is this a healthy alternative?
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To be more specific, plant-based alternatives saw a huge increase in sales even before the coronavirus pandemic. But in March, sales of meat alternatives increased by another 264 percent. (Not only due to popularity, but also from an increase in distribution.)
Meanwhile, reports of COVID-19 spread through meat processing facilities have caused some to temporarily close their doors. As of June 7, 7100 Tyson Foods employees tested positive for the new coronavirus. In some regions, the supply chain has been disrupted. He left farmers no choice but to kill or destroy their surplus animals.
So is this time for artificial meat to come out?
High sales rates are promising. It can also help keep shelves full when veal and turkey meatballs run low in stock. But food industry experts like Mark Lang, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Tampa, say these once-in-a-lifetime conditions likely won’t cause the average person to give up meat altogether.
“Meat eaters still make up a large part of society.”
A 2018 Gallup survey found that only 5 percent of adult Americans identify as vegetarians. It’s a 1 percent drop from the most recent 1999 survey. However, this does not mean that meat-eaters do not want to compromise. Rather, plant-based meat companies may have to find better ways to satisfy their potential customers rather than encourage them to abandon animal products altogether.
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Is It A Healthy Alternative?
Meat substitutes can come from a variety of plant-based sources. Soybeans, jack fruit, beans or mushrooms are some of them. With brands like Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat, the meatballs are made from textured soy protein and look like their animal-sourced counterparts. Still, the term “plant-based” can be misleading in terms of its health benefits: In terms of nutritional content, processed meat alternatives are not much better for the body than traditional meats.Eating a highly processed plant-based burger will have about the same saturated fat and protein content as a ground beef or turkey burger. However, they contain higher amounts of sodium and lower amounts of cholesterol. And because they’re highly processed, plant-based alternatives lack the nutritional supplement that their raw ingredients like soybeans can offer.
But unlike meat production, plant-based alternatives are more environmentally friendly (because of the huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions from animals.) Because of methane produced by ruminant animals such as cattle, approximately 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions produced by humans come from livestock.
A 2019 study in Science found that dairy farms that emit the least amount of greenhouse gases create 36 times more pollution than the average farm that produces peas.
Even products that emit the lowest levels of greenhouse gases, such as poultry, exceed emissions from plant products. Despite the heavy effects of beef on the environment, it actually contributes little to our diet. (only 37 percent of total protein consumption and 18 percent of total calories.)
Helping the environment is a central part of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods marketing. Both companies say making a positive impact on climate change is a central part of their mission. But while this goal is naturally appealing to everyone, Americans are not always the best at putting the world on their list of priorities when it comes to choosing what they eat, even if they care about the environment.
Feeding the Masses
Meat is a deep-rooted part of American culture, and even touted as a movement for greater good, it is not easy to get people to permanently change their eating habits.
Lang, “People can go on and off the diet and they always do” says. But sticking to a changing diet, especially as with meat alternatives, does work “You have to leave this” It’s really hard for people to do when framed in the form of.
In order to mitigate climate change, a compromise may be necessary to enable consumers to reduce their consumption of meat, Lang said. The mixed burger is a mix of meat and vegetables, ground into a patty designed to resemble their full beef counterparts.
Food Quality and Preference In the January report in the magazine, Lang surveyed 602 American adults about impressions of a burger made from a beef and mushroom mix. Taste the burgers from the participants, health effects, They were asked to rank according to factors such as environmental sustainability and price. Most of the respondents listed the health effects as top reasons to try hamburgers. However, to Lang’s surprise, environmental sustainability was in last place for most of the attendees.
“[Tüketiciler] He might say, ‘I’m trying to help the world and improve my diet at the same time,’ ”he explains. “But when they have to choose one they say, ‘I want to improve my diet and health, if I can save the environment, that’s fine too.’ According to Lang, this is the main problem. When choosing foods, first the well-being of the person and then the well-being of the environment is taken into consideration. And if it requires a great deal of sacrifice, you can make an easier choice.
Meat of the Future
Despite the current high sales of plant-based alternatives, Lang thinks the fake meat era is still in its early stages. Currently, current marketing shoppers are trying to encourage them to make a “switch” to herb burgers that could alienate some consumers who aren’t so keen on giving up meat altogether.
“This is framed in the media as an all or nothing proposition: it’s meat or no meat,” Lang says. He agrees that reducing meat consumption in the average American diet is still an important step towards halting climate change, but can be done in smaller increments. Herbal and meat mixes can be the bridge to a more sustainable diet. Customers can enjoy a product with less meat and therefore have a lower carbon footprint.
“We are learning that people want things to be easy, simple and small,” says Lang. “People find it very difficult to make significant or serious changes to their diet and eating habits.”
As for soy patties at your local grocery store: They probably won’t fly off the shelves like sausages on Fourth of July. But over time, we may see more marketed products to meat-loving Americans looking to add more herbs to their diet.