- Food

Plant-Based Innovations – The Rise of Alternative Proteins

Plant-based launches across various categories are growing quickly. Meat, fish and egg alternatives lead the charge while dairy alternatives and alcoholic beverages also play a part.

Innovative technologies are helping create plant-based protein analogues that resemble meat in terms of texture and umami flavor, while new crop sources like mung bean, algae and mycoprotein are being harnessed for food applications.

Lab-Grown Meat

Plant-based meats such as those made by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat successfully mimic the taste and texture of traditional meat products without using animal by-products, while producing significantly fewer greenhouse gases and water consumption, decreasing agricultural waste as well as aquatic nutrient pollution.

Lab-grown or cultivated meat differs in that it uses actual animal muscle tissue without coming from factory farms, instead using stem cell extraction from living tissue with local anesthesia to minimize momentary discomfort, followed by culture in large tanks known as bioreactors.

Scientists apply nutrients to cells, stimulating them to grow and multiply. Once formed into edible “scaffoldings” these cultivated “meat” pieces can then be transformed into beef steak, chicken nuggets or salmon burgers just like any other cut of meat – perfect for marinating, breading, baking or grilling! Several companies currently produce such “cultivated meat”, with potentially available in restaurants within several years as well as supermarkets offering various cultutal offerings shortly thereafter.

Alternative Dairy

No matter if you are lactose intolerant, have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy, want to limit saturated fat intake or are vegan; there are plenty of milk-like beverages made with plant proteins like soy, almonds, oats and peas available for you.

These products have become increasingly popular due to health, environmental, and ethical considerations. Adopting a plant-based diet can also help lower greenhouse gas emissions, save land space, and decrease pollution caused by fertilizer runoff.

Alternative milks reflect a growing global shift towards vegetarianism and flexitarianism, where many people opt for meat-free diets as part of an environmental commitment. Switching completely can save animal lives while decreasing your environmental footprint – plus, you can still get all your protein needs met through plants! And you won’t miss the taste – various companies have innovated ways to produce alternatives so you can still enjoy familiar flavors and textures without missing meat altogether!

Innovative Plant-Based Ingredients

As plant-based options gain in popularity, innovation in ingredients has enabled new and exciting food products to hit the market – everything from vegan jerky and lentil and mung bean pretzels to burgers and chicken fillets!

Companies are using innovative techniques to replicate meat-like textures. These include fermentation of fungi and mycelium (such as Quorn’s use of this process) as well as using novel vegetable oils which mimic animal fats in their characteristics.

Alternative fats are helping to address some of the challenges associated with traditional vegetable oils, including their high melting points and lack of flavor (Griffith Foods 2020). Furthermore, these plant-based options help brands meet consumer expectations regarding visual appeal, cooking experience and eating experience – something particularly critical as more consumers opt for plant-based options due to environmental and health considerations and thus are more receptive to plant-based claims on packaging.

Exciting New Products Hit the Market in 2024

Innovative plant-based products have emerged at an astonishing rate as alternatives to meat, fish, and dairy alternatives. Instead of being limited by being labeled meat or dairy substitutes, these innovative offerings seek to stand on their own with health, taste, and variety as primary benefits.

Alternative solutions such as plant-based products may help mitigate climate change and disease transmission, as well as antibiotic resistance (AMR) from livestock agriculture by decreasing exposure to bacteria. Plus, as more consumers look for ways to lower their environmental impact, plant-based products could be an ideal way to do just that!

Plant-, fermentation-, and cell-based proteins are currently the primary alternative protein sources, accounting for most market share. Other protein options like insects, seaweed and single cells may become increasingly prominent over time as alternative protein sources that meet consumer concerns over cost, values/ethics/food safety may become available.

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