FUTURE PROOF: Is plant-based meat better for you?

IF you’re a vegetarian or knows anyone who is vegetarian, you’d be familiar with the concept of mock meat. Go to any Chinese vegetarian restaurant and you’ll see the menu is full of mock beef, mock chicken, mock fish, and so on. So, the concept of plant-based food items made to look and even taste like meat is nothing new.

What companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have done, however, is to take this to another level where the food item is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing — in terms of both looks and taste.

The Impossible Burger, for example, is made with a plant-based heme that causes the fake ground beef patty to bleed just like meat would. They’ve conducted taste tests where average consumers couldn’t tell the difference between fake meat and real meat.

It’s now available in grocery stores and Burger King outlets in the USA. It’s also available in select eateries in Singapore but not yet in Malaysia. Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat tout both the healthy aspect of plant-based meat as well as the environmentally-friendly factor as well.

The latter isn’t much in dispute. It’s a fact that if people were to move away from eating livestock, there would be a significant reduction in global greenhouse gases. It would also free up land that would otherwise need to be used for animal grazing; there would be less use of water, pesticides and many other environmental benefits. That much isn’t really in doubt.

It’s now available in grocery stores and Burger King outlets in the USA. It’s also available in select eateries in Singapore but not yet in Malaysia. Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat tout both the healthy aspect of plant-based meat as well as the environmentally-friendly factor as well.

The latter isn’t much in dispute. It’s a fact that if people were to move away from eating livestock, there would be a significant reduction in global greenhouse gases. It would also free up land that would otherwise need to be used for animal grazing; there would be less use of water, pesticides and many other environmental benefits. That much isn’t really in doubt.

STILL MUCH TO DEBATE

A study commissioned by Beyond Meat and carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan found that the production of Beyond Meat’s burgers generated 90 per cent greenhouse gas emissions compared to that of regular meat burgers.

It also uses 99 per cent less water, 93 per cent less land and 90 per cent less fossil fuel emissions. Meanwhile, the Impossible Burger uses 87 per cent less water, 96 per cent less land, and 89 per cent less fossil fuel emissions than regular ground beef.

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