Given how plant-based is officially disrupting the global food industry and consumer behaviour, it is not exactly a bold prediction to foresee Asia picking up the trend very soon. Now, when plant-based diets are more popular than ever before, vegans are far more likely to be met with congratulations than commiserations!
Not long ago, telling people you were vegan would’ve elicited a unilaterally hostile response. There would’ve been gasps and sighs and maybe even condolences offered, as you mourned the death of your bordering-on-obsessive halloumi habit.
As more people around the world find out about the animal cruelty and environmental degradation inherent in animal agriculture, they’re ditching meat and other animal products in favour of healthier meat-free alternatives. Here is a compendium of plant-based alternatives that you should keep a look out for:
The Meat Alternatives
Beyond Meat produced the world’s first plant-based burger called the Beyond Burger which leaves out the cholesterol and uses peas to provide the protein, beets for juiciness, plus coconut oil and potato starch for texture. Beyond Meat uses similar building blocks as animal meal but in the plant kingdom to rebuild meat from the ground up without sacrificing on taste or texture. The company also makes ground beef; reviews rave that when blindfolded, people couldn’t distinguish it from real ground beef.
Another meat-free alternative, Impossible Foods, is backed by the likes of Bill Gates and Temasek Holdings Singapore. It is arguably the most popular option for meatless burger patties in Asia. Perhaps the reason is it “bleeds like real meat,” which CEO & founder, Dr. Patrick O. Brown attributes to a molecule called “heme”. This is extracted from the protein soy leghemoglobin naturally found in soy roots, and blended with soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil and potato protein for an explosion of meaty flavours.
Believe it or not, Quorn has been in the market for quite some time, though it didn’t gain much traction in the local dining scene until recently. Its range of products includes chicken nuggets, fillets and sausages made from fusarium venenatum, a healthy fungus that’s fermented the same way you make bread or beer. The fungus grows rapidly in the fields of Southeast England and offers the product a mild, earthy tone.
You may be surprised to learn that pork is the world’s most consumed meat. Because of pork’s popularity, David Yeung, plant-based advocate and founder of Green Monday & Green Common, took on the challenge of creating a plant-based pork alternative. They made global headlines with Right Treat’s Omnipork, the world’s first vegan minced pork made from plants.
“It contains 0mg cholesterol, is antibiotic-free, hormone-free and 86% lower in saturated fat and 66% lower in calories than real pork, while offering much higher fibre, 260% higher in calcium and 127% higher in iron,” Yeung states.
Through their propriety blend of plant-based protein from pea, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushroom and rice, this superfood offers a high-quality complete vegan protein that fulfils our body’s need. In terms of texture, OmniPork is succulent, tender and juicy. It can be seasoned in any way, and can be steamed, pan-fried, deep-fried, stuffed or turned into meatballs.
An Eggs Alternative
Hot on the heels of JUST Mayo’s eggless success, JUST Egg entered the market with its all-natural, non-GMO scrambled “eggs”. They are completely egg free and plant-based, leaving consumers more impressed than freaked out. Both cholesterol- and antibiotic-free, the flavour remarkably mimics real egg, with a fluffy texture to match.
Perhaps all the years the eco-conscious spent searching supermarkets for eggs laid by cage-free hens is finally paying off. Either way, JUST Egg, made largely from mung beans, has won over restaurants in the US and has already made an impact on plates here in Asia.
Making waves in the milk world is Oatly, a Swedish company which was the brainchild of Swedish food scientist Rickard Öste. He’d been doing research on lactose intolerance, and was thinking about sustainable, non-dairy alternatives. Is there anything more sustainable, and less bovine than oats? It’s a pretty optimal option for everyday use because it has been enriched with vitamins (D, riboflavin, B12) and calcium and includes 1.5% fat from rapeseed and oats. There is no added sugar whatsoever.
Using yellow split peas, Ripple has eight times the protein of almond milk and half the sugar of dairy milk, while also being lower in calories. Most importantly, it has the delicious texture that makes your coffee or tea creamy, without making it taste like nuts or soybeans.
More Plant-Based Alternatives
New app, abillionveg, is another name bringing change to this global movement. Since its inception in May 2018, the abillionveg app has globally been the fastest growing plant-based review platform. It’s like TripAdvisor meets Instagram for consumers trying to adopt a plant-based lifestyle!
You can upload your food pics, rate and review plant-based dishes and grocery items no matter where you are in the world. In turn, the app shares these reviews with business and restaurants serving these plant-based alternatives.
Founder and CEO of abillionveg, Vikas Garg, shares, “We’re focused on measured social impact, supporting animal rescue and building a truly great platform that provides a foundation for both consumers and businesses entering the space with the socialisation that you need in today’s day and age. This business is about advocacy and changing the equation to also get restaurants and hotels to become more plant-based.”