Why plant-based meat substitutes are good for you, and even better for the environment.
There has been a lot of buzz recently around plant-based meat substitutes—especially since Beyond Meat just went public in May at a nearly $1.5 billion dollar valuation. Two of the most popular meat substitutes on the market, Beyond Meats and Impossible Foods, have been astonishing consumers at their resemblance to actual meat. These products look and taste like the meat products they are modeled after.
What makes them different?
Impossible Foods’ main product is their burger. And while the Beyond Burger is probably the most well known product that Beyond Meats offers, the company also offers “ground beef,” two flavors of “sausages,” and “beef crumbles.” However, it is possible to mash or crumble the Impossible Burger to create meatballs, pizza toppings, or even tacos.
Additionally, the products differ in their main protein ingredient. Beyond Burgers’ main protein source comes from pea protein, while Impossible Burgers get their protein from soy protein concentrate.
The Impossible Burger looks a little more realistic than the Beyond Burger. It appears to “bleed” thanks to the Heme molecule an ingredient called soy leghemoglobin. The Heme molecule is found in every living plant and animal. Since it’s found most abundantly in animals, it’s what makes meat taste like meat. Impossible Foods use the Heme molecule in soy roots. In fact, Impossible Burgers taste so much like actual beef, that some vegetarians and vegans don’t like to eat them because it creeps them out!
Why are they good for us?
Meat increases risk of cancer by 16% and risk of heart disease by 21%. By eating a patty that looks and tastes like meat—without the added cholesterol—we can satisfy our cravings without having to worry about health risks.
Why are they good for the environment?
Aside from the fact that less animals will be killed if more people switch to meat substitutes, plant-based substances are made more sustainably than meat products. 51% of greenhouse gas emissions result from raising livestock and producing meat products. 45% of global surface area is reserved for livestock systems. Imagine the greenery and nature that could be preserved with just a fraction of that space!
So, for your next summer barbeque, try switching to a Beyond or Impossible Burger. Your guests will barely notice the difference.
ELIANA DOFT loves to write, travel, and volunteer. She is especially excited by opportunities to combine these three passions through writing about social action travel experiences. She is an avid reader, a licensed scuba diver, and a self-proclaimed cold brew connoisseur.