The study, published in the journal Future Foods, argued that because these foods are ‘specifically formulated to replicate the taste, texture and overall eating experience of animal products’, they have the potential to reduce demand for meat and dairy. There is a more effective method. Simply encouraging people to make vegetarian whole meals.
The study, conducted by psychologists at the University of Bath in the UK, concluded that plant-based meat and dairy alternatives ‘provide a healthier and more environmentally sustainable solution that takes consumer preferences and behavior into account.’
“Increasingly we are seeing how plant-based products are able to overcome demand from animal products by appealing to three essential ingredients: taste, price and convenience,” said Dr Chris Bryant from the university.
The team reviewed 43 studies into the health and environmental impacts of plant-based foods, as well as consumer attitudes. One study found that nearly 90 percent of consumers who ate plant-based meat and dairy were actually meat eaters.
The paper also found that these plant-based products caused lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than the animal products they were turning to. One paper found that compared to beef burgers, plant-based burgers were associated with up to 98 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The team suggested that plant-based products generally require much less agricultural land, require less water and cause less pollution than animal products.
Studies focusing on the health of plant-based products also found that they have better nutritional profiles than animal products, with one paper finding that 40 percent consume conventional meat products, compared to only 14 percent. was classified as ‘less healthy’. Of the plant based options.
Others found that plant-based meats and dairy were good for weight loss and muscle building, and could be used to help people with specific health conditions.
Food producers may be able to add ingredients such as edible fungi, microalgae or spirulina to plant-based foods, enhancing properties such as amino acids, vitamins B and E and antioxidants. Future innovations in processing and ingredients are expected to further improve nutrition.
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