1 in 4 meat substitutes do not contain enough protein14 Apr 2021
One in four plant-based protein options does not contain sufficient protein to be considered a source of protein, according to Irish industry watchdog Safefood in a new report. Despite the incongruity between 25% of labels professing products to be an alternative source of protein and the lack of this nutrient in the products themselves, the report noted that consumers are turning to these meat analogs because they are perceived to be better-for-you.
In its findings, Safefood found that consumers may be unaware of this disconnect between perceived health benefits of plant-based alternatives and reality. “The reality is that these are processed foods and a bit of a mixed bag. If you are going to eat them, read the label and look for products that are a good source of protein and lower in saturated fat, sugar and salt,” said Catherine Conlon, Director of Human Health & Nutrition with Safefood.
This report focused on analyzing plant-based alternatives such as mince, burgers and sausages, which are positioned in a category of foods that provide protein such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish, nuts and beans.
While the report found that a full quarter of products contained quantities of protein too insufficient to be considered a source of the nutrient, the report noted another quarter of the tested products were a source of protein and 49% were a source of high protein. But the findings in the report did not match what manufacturers were advertising on labels. Half of the products tested made protein-related claims, with 11% saying they were a source of protein and 39% claiming to be high in protein.
In addition to protein claims, 80% of the products claimed to contain a source of fiber, but the Safefood report noted this was due to the origin of meat analogs from plant-based sources; animal-based meat does not contain fiber in its natural form.
This is not the first time that experts have disagreed with the perceived health halo surrounding plant-based food. Dieticians have argued that the quantities of sodium and saturated fat in vegan meat are equivalent to what is in a beef patty, and experts point out that the way in which these meat analogs are created puts them in the category of processed foods rather than whole foods.
Nevertheless, the rise of plant-based alternatives continues. According to 2019 Mintec data cited by Safefood, vegan was the third fastest growing on-pack claim for food and drink launches globally between 2014 and 2019, with sales in the UK of meat-free foods forecasted to be in excess of €1 billion by 2024. This growth is driven by the fact that more consumers are looking to curtail their meat intake for health reasons. In the U.K. one in three adults (34%) said they ate plant-based versions of burgers, sausages, chicken or fish. Almost eight in ten people (79%) who eat meat-substitute products do so once a month or more often. The U.S. is not far behind with Mintel data indicating nearly 60% of U.S. consumers have expressed interest in eating less meat.
Personal health is the primary driver for this increase in non-animal protein. Safetrak found in a 2020 study that the top reasons for eating plant-based alternatives are due to their perception as ‘healthy or better for you’ (33%), the taste (21%) and the reduced environmental impact (15%).
While more and more individuals are becoming regular customers of plant-based products, Safefood warned that while meat alternatives products can fit into a healthy diet, they are still highly processed foods and so consumption should be limited accordingly.
“Many of these plant-based products are simply highly processed foods – if you think about it, eating a sausage roll whether that’s plant-based or meat, is still a sausage roll,” said Conlon.
Amano brings umami flavor through plant-based enzymes
26 Apr 2021
Amano Enzymes launched a new plant-based enzyme called Umamizyme Pulse for use by manufacturers looking to amplify the savory and umami flavor profiles of plant-based protein applications. The company said its enzyme can be added to foods like soups, b...Read more
Plant-based bacon alternative raises $40M
21 Apr 2021
Atlast Food Co, which owns the mycelium-focused, plant-based protein brand MyEats, received $40M in a Series A round led by Viking Global Investors with participation from 40 North, AiiM Partners, Senator Investment Group, Stray Dog Capital and Footpri...Read more
Pea-based tofu offers another alternative for plant-based protein
19 Apr 2021
UK-based tofu alternative manufacturer Peafu is looking to make a pea-based tofu product available to the market by 2022. Currently, the product is in the prototype phase.Read more
IFF: enzymes can boost bakery sector with label-friendly solution
13 Apr 2021
Enzymes are the key to anchor clean label formulation strategies in the bakery sector, International Foods & Fragrances (IFF) said in a recent webinar. With demand from consumers for natural ingredients reaching new heights, the flavor company posited ...Read more
DSM acquires Amyris’ bio-based flavors and fragrances business
9 Apr 2021
Netherlands-based Royal DSM acquired the flavor and fragrance bio-based intermediates business of California-based Amyris in order to extend the Dutch corporation’s presence in bio-based flavor and fragrance ingredients. The transaction was completed o...Read more
Vegan ingredients maker gets $11M in seed funding
7 Apr 2021
Vegan ingredient maker Nourish Ingredients received $11 million in a seed funding round led by Hong Kong billionaire Chris Liu’s Horizons Ventures and the Australian government’s Main Sequence Ventures. Horizon Ventures is known for providing early-sta...Read more
Pig-free pepsin comes to market from Clara Foods
22 Mar 2021
Following six years of research, biotech ingredients maker Clara Foods rolled out the first commercially-available, animal-free pepsin enzyme that is is free of antibiotics and hormones as well as being vegan, Kosher and Halal, according to a press rel...Read more
Follow Your Heart dips into pancake batter
17 Mar 2021
Trailblazing vegan brand Follow Your Heart has entered a new category with the launch of its Rocket Cakes bottled pancake batter mix. The mix is a refrigerated batter made from corn, white rice and millet flours and is gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO...Read more
Food allergies are impacting more than half the U.S. population
15 Mar 2021
Just over half of the U.S. population (51%) is impacted by food allergies or sensitivities, according to a new study by That’s It which used the Suzy marketing platform. This number is not necessarily those who have to contend with food allergies thems...Read more
Good Catch sends its plant-based burgers into fast food
12 Mar 2021
Plant-based tuna brand Good Catch announced that it will expand its foodservice footprint in New York through its new limited-time partnership with the sustainable restaurant chain Bareburger. While the initial trial period expired on March 10, the com...Read more
Are you a supplier?
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation