A Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) researcher has found that meat substitutes help people transition to a vegan diet. Some people who don’t follow a meat-free diet, and have no intention to, don’t necessarily understand the benefit of substitute products. Equally, some people don’t agree with some products on the market, for example, the ‘bleeding’ burgers that are increasingly available, due to mimicking beef burgers.
However, Hana Kahleova, director of clinical research at PCRM has found that vegan meat alternatives make the transition easier for people looking to cut down, or cut out meat from their diets.
Speaking to Food Navigator, Kahleova said: “Processed plant based foods like veggie sausage, bacon or vegan cheese can be useful for some to use as transition foods, because they provide the taste of animal products people are accustomed to consuming, with fewer health risks.
“While they may not be as healthful as whole plant foods, they’re often much lower in cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat than animal-based foods.”
Kahleova continued: “Often, as people experiment more with plant based foods, their taste buds change. They rely less on these processed foods and more on whole plant foods. There are also many great plant based replacements made from healthful, whole foods, for example, veggie burgers made with beans, rice and vegetables.”
Vegan products are becoming increasingly popular choices, with more of the population becoming aware of the ethical and environmental impact of eating meat. Convenience and affordability are two other factors associated with the rise in plant based alternatives. Dr Geoff Bryant, technical and engineering director at Quorn Foods, said: “We’ve gone on a journey with Quorn Foods, originally advertising the food to niche audiences such as vegetarians and sportspeople. Now we’ve moved into a more mainstream category due to the fact it’s convenient and affordable.”