With people becoming more health-conscious, diets like Paleo and Keto have fluctuated in popularity over the years. In 2019 though, there’s been a prominent rise in a different diet: plant-based. A plant-based diet consists mostly or entirely of foods from plants, that includes vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, legumes and few to no animal products. A third of the population is actively reducing their meat consumption, instead, replacing it with plant-based foods. Some of these alternatives include soy, peas, and nuts, and are engineered to taste like or as close as possible to regular milk, cheese and meat.
More restaurants are expanding their menus to accommodate the vegetarians, vegans and vegan-curious. An example of this improvement is Burger King’s introduction of the Impossible Whopper to their menu. The Whopper replaces the usual beef patty with an Impossible Foods patty which consists of an ingredient called soy leghemoglobin. While the burger is not considered vegan, since it’s topped with mayonnaise which contains eggs, it can be considered vegetarian.
While Impossible Foods is one company in the wave of plant-based foods, other companies like Beyond Meat which makes meat-free chicken strips and New Wave Foods which produce fishless fried shrimp. The most important element of the process is the soy leghemoglobin or “heme” which is the ingredient that replicates the taste of blood and mimics the bleeding in a regular meat burger.
Although the plant-based foods have received some mixed reviews, it definitely has sparked up some controversy and thus, has caught the interest of some people who would have never thought of starting a meat-free diet before.