Not long ago, the term “plant-based meat” would have caused many people to scratch their heads. Now, it is commonplace and, we would argue, is an essential part of a sustainable future. Plant-based meat is a fast-growing industry, due to the increased demand from people giving up or reducing their consumption of meat products for their health, animals and the planet. The list of high-quality brands offering delicious plant-based meat products grows every year.
What Is Plant-based Meat?
Plant-based meat is as simple as it sounds. It is a food product, made of plant-derived ingredients, designed to mimic the taste and texture of meat. So, a plant-based sausage is just a sausage, without any cruel, planet-harming animal products in it. Simple!
What Is Plant-based Meat Made Of?
Plant-based meats can be made from a variety of ingredients and this depends on the product. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken pieces, bacon, and more, can all be recreated using healthy, plant-based ingredients such as pea protein, wheat gluten, mushrooms and soy.
In fact, these products have become so good, it is often impossible to tell the difference between them and animal-based meat products!
Is Plant-based Meat Healthy?
We are the first to advocate that just because something is plant-based, it does not mean it’s healthy. Plant-based meats can often be processed products, but then so are meat-based burgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets! Besides, processed plants do not come with the same serious health problems as processed meat …
Plant-based Meat Vs Meat
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified all processed meat as class 1 carcinogenic, meaning it definitely causes cancer, and all red meat as class 2, meaning it is likely to do so also. Meat products, particularly red meat, have also been shown to increase risk of a long list of chronic and life threatening diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has also shown that swapping out beef products and replacing them with a plant-based alternative (Beyond Meat in this case), resulted in reduced cardiovascular risk factors in healthy adults. Given that heart disease is America’s biggest killer, this is a huge result for plant-based meat!
What Is The Healthiest Plant-based Meat Brand?
This is subjective, as all are different. Some are more processed than others and some have a more natural ingredient profile. But, as none are carcinogenic (and none involve factory farming with its antibiotic-resistant and pandemic risks) they are all an improvement on meat.
What To Avoid?
- High saturated and trans fat content
- High sodium content
- High oil content
What To Look Out For?
- Nutrient-dense ingredient lists that include whole foods like beans and mushrooms
- Added essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin b12 or vitamin D
- A complete protein profile. For example, the Beyond Burger contains pea, brown rice and mung bean protein, to create a complete amino acid profile
Best Plant-based Meat Brands
Alpha is a modern plant-based meat brand, who have created a line of well designed, delicious plant-based products that includes nuggets, burritos, chicken strips, ground beef, and more. One of their biggest strengths is that they offer delicious ‘grab and go’ products that can be a convenient lunch from stores like Whole Foods.
Amy’s Kitchen provides traditional, home-cooked plant-based products. You can get all your childhood favorites including lasagna, mac n cheese, burritos, and more! Their products can be found in all major supermarkets, as well as independent, natural and organic shops.
Beyond Meat Company
One of the biggest players in the plant-based meat sector, Beyond Meat is one of the highest benchmarks for quality. They spent years researching innovative methods of creating meat-like textures from pea, mung bean, and brown rice proteins, and have been successful in creating one of the most accurate products on the market! For those BBQ lovers, Beyond Meat is the way to go to seamlessly recreate the smells and textures of meat.
Boca are burger specialists and there is something for everyone, even the most ardent meat fans, in their range of products! Their major pull is ease and simplicity, as their products are easy to cook and delicious. What’s not to like?
Many companies have successfully replicated processed beef and pork products, but chicken has been much tougher. Daring have taken on the challenge of recreating an accurate unprocessed chicken texture, and they have nailed it. Their product is not breaded or fried, so is healthier, and still tastes fantastic!
Field Roast’s product list is impressive and extensive. Whatever your flavor preferences, they have something for you, including roasts, sausages, hot dogs, pepperoni, and deli slices.. And they are all delicious – who needs meat with Field Roast around?
Gardein have been around for a while and have cemented themselves as staple of the plant-based meat section in major supermarkets. They have a huge range of delicious products and can be found in most large retailers like Walmart!
Hungry Planet is showing that plant-based meat can be both healthy and delicious. They provide firm favorites but with lower fat content, fewer calories, higher protein, and higher fiber than their competitors. They also provide a ‘Hungry at Home’ service, so you can get your favorite meals delivered straight to your door.
Impossible is a big player and one of the first plant-based meat companies to be offered in major fast-food outlets like Burger King. Their products can now be found all over the world which shows the demand for plant-based meat is growing globally!
Lightlife provides clean, simple, and delicious products that are free of any artificial or synthetic ingredients. They have got you covered for everything, including sausages, deli slices, chicken, burgers, ground beef, and even tofu and tempeh products!
British brand Meatless Farm have brought their success across the Atlantic, and their products can now be found in their online store and many major retailers. Their products are accurate meat imitations, and most importantly, high in protein, gluten-free, low in saturated fats, and high in fiber!
Moku entered the jerky market with a bang. Their mushroom-based jerky has been developed over a year in the kitchen with top culinary experts and chefs, and it shows. It tastes just like meat jerky and, on top of this, it’s low-carbon, gluten-free, soy-free, and non-gmo, and one percent of every purchase goes to a charity of your choice.
Found in major supermarkets all across the country, Morningstar are old-school and simple, providing classic American favorites, just meatless!
No Evil Foods
No Evil Foods gives each of its products their own identity, because they believe too many plant-based meats are still identified by their meat counterparts. Head to their website to learn more about The Stallion, El Capitan and Comrade Cluck!
British brand Quorn have taken a unique approach and their foods are made of a fermented product called Mycoprotein. Their natural products, such as sausages, burgers, slices and more, have a meaty texture, and have been popular for many years! Some of their products still contain egg white, so they are not suitable for vegans.
Sweet Earth offers many different products, but they get an honorable mention because of their plant-based bacon, flavored with hickory, sage and garlic. It’s amazing!
The Very Good Butchers
Canada’s answer to plant-based meats, The Very Good Butcher’s products pack an extra meaty taste, using simple ingredients. They offer meat boxes containing their full range of products, so you can try everything and share them with all your meat-eating friends!
Tofurky is a long-standing and incredibly popular brand with a huge range of different products, from deli slices, to roasts to simple sausages. They can be found all over the US and Canada in major supermarkets.
Upton’s do almost everything and do it well! They have a wide range of delicious seitan products and have now launched the first-to-market, seasoned-and-ready-to-eat jackfruit products in the US. They can be found in many major restaurants and even provide wholesale, so you can buy delicious plant-based meats for your own business!
Plant-based meat is a rapidly growing sector and there are delicious versions of every meat product, readily available in major supermarkets and independent grocery stores. Whether you want an on-the-go burrito, a hearty home cooked meal, or even a delicious BBQ, there is a plant-based meat that will do the job!