By Annie Pilon
About 5 percent of Americans currently claim to be vegetarian. And 3% practice a completely plant based of vegan diet.
Clearly, these consumers don’t purchase much, if any, meat products. And many other consumers have cut back on certain meat purchases as well.
That’s where alternative meat comes in. Experts project the market for this type of product will reach about $140 million over the next decade. Led by an ever-growing list of innovative brands, this concept differs from some of the veggie and black bean burger products that you might have been familiar with in years past. And these new products might appeal to an even larger percentage of your customers.
So if your restaurant, grocery store or deli isn’t yet taking advantage of this meat alternative trend, this might be the time to reconsider. Here’s what you should know before jumping in.
What Is Alternative Meat?
Basically, alternative meat is a food product that is made to imitate the look, feel and taste of traditional meat dishes. But they are actually made of plant proteins or other meatless ingredients. Additionally, some of the new products on the market today are made to appeal to meat eaters as well as vegetarians, since producers pay even more attention to the flavor and texture in each item, rather than simply forming vegetables into the shape of a burger. This sets them apart from some of the classic veggie burger options that had been available in past years.
The actual makeup of alternative meat products varies by brand and type. But there are several very popular varieties, including meatless burgers, ground beef, hot dogs, and chicken. Some popular ingredients include proteins like tofu, seitan and even mushrooms.
Why Offer Alternative Meat?
Aside from the increasing amount of people who always have a vegetarian or vegan diet, everyday consumers are also becoming increasingly interested in meatless options. There are a few major talking points leading people in this direction.
First is the health aspect. There’s tons of varying opinions about the health benefits of meat versus meatless diets. But generally, many people feel that at least cutting back on meat and including more veggies would be beneficial for their health. So even the perception of healthier options on your menu can really appeal to a lot of customers.
Then there are the environmental factors to consider. Livestock farming accounts for about 14.5 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Basically, producing meat requires a lot more land, energy and other resources than what is required to simply harvest plants. And all of that need puts a major strain on the environment. Beef is widely considered to be one of the least sustainable types of food. But other types of meat also tend to be less sustainable than plants. And since consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, even simply offering more environmentally conscious options can help your image.
How Do I Choose the Right Alternative Meat Option
Of course, not all types of …read more
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