22 Nov Plant-based burgers – a taste of things to come
Plant-based burgers are the latest vegan gourmet trend sweeping the globe, offering a slew of benefits from personal health to combating climate change.
With attention-grabbing names like the Impossible Burger, Beyond Meat Burger, and most recently, Nestle’s Awesome Burger, the selection of plant-based burgers is increasing by the year – and even the most ardent meat-eater will admit that they taste rather good.
As more consumers turn to plant-based burgers, new opportunities are presenting themselves for health food manufacturers and retailers around the world. South Africa is no exception.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the plant-based burger trend in more detail and see what it could mean for the industry and society as a whole.
Plant-based meat: sounds odd, tastes great
For vegans and vegetarians, the idea of plant-based ‘meat’ or soy ‘meat’ substitutes can seem strange – or even off-putting.
Why forswear a diet of animal products, only to be reminded of them every time you bite into a vegan burger or sausage? For new converts to plant-based eating, the familiarity in the name to the taste of meat is a huge part of the appeal.
What’s in a plant-based burger?
Today’s plant-based burgers are appetising, juicy and taste almost like meat – and they offer a range of health benefits too.
Nestle’s Awesome Burger, which launched recently, is a case in point.
- The Awesome Burger, which Nestle claims is healthier than other plant-based burgers in the industry, provides 6g of fibre, 28g of plant protein, and a host of vitamins plus iron.
- Like most plant-based burgers, pea protein isolate, wheat gluten and other plant ingredients make up the bulk of the burger patty. Canola and coconut oil act as binding agents.
Plant-based burgers contain some of the most popular vegan protein sources – essentially pulses and wheat – with small amounts of oils that are better for the body than the saturated fat found in meat.
For ardent meat-eaters who once resisted plant-based eating out of fears of protein and iron deficiencies, there’s simply no reason to consume only animal products anymore.
The latest nutrition trends reflect this reality.
“Flexitarians” around the world are switching to plant-based burgers
Plant-based burgers have become extremely popular around the world lately, according to trends in Europe and even in the proudly carnivorous United States.
While less than 10% of Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian, the meat-eating majority currently makes up 90% of the US plant-based burger market.
This trend points to an interesting fact: plant-based burgers have become a safe, familiar way for meat-eaters to experiment with the idea of vegetarian and vegan protein sources.
This new style of diet, also known as “flexitarianism” may begin to embrace more and more vegan foods as time goes by.
Meat-loving South Africa is rapidly going vegan
Good weather, sunny skies and the weekend braai may be the stereotypical image of South Africa – but things are changing.
A recent study based on Google Trends data reveals that internet searches for topics related to veganism have surged in South Africa. Cape Town and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape and Randburg, Johannesburg were the three locations where internet users showed the most significant interest in a plant-based lifestyle.
South Africans are keen to find information on the vegan lifestyle in general, as well as vegan recipes and nearby vegan restaurants.
This data indicates that vegan lifestyle businesses – including the health food sector – should be poised for healthy growth in both Cape Town and Johannesburg and the areas surrounding them.
This trend is mirrored in larger towns and cities across the country, with vegan dining and food supplies now available in cities and towns which used to be exclusively meat-focused just a few years ago.
South Africa’s interest in the worldwide vegan trend is great news for the health of our country – and for the future of our planet too.
Eating for the planet
The past few years have witnessed an increase in extreme weather events around the world, from hurricanes in the Caribbean to killer typhoons in Asia.
South Africa has had its share of strange weather too, with tornadoes and heavy storms striking KZN lately, and a crippling drought just having ended in the Western Cape.
Most informed people today accept that these freak events are in fact the result of accelerating climate change. Cutting back on meat products is one of the best things anyone can do to curb this destructive process – and plant-based burgers have arrived just in time.
Recently, the world stood in solidarity with teenage activist Greta Thunberg when she addressed the UN and gave every adult on the planet an ultimatum to do something about climate change. For many consumers, a simple change like eating plant-based protein could not only improve their health, but save the planet too.
A unique opportunity for the vegan food industry
As plant-based protein moves from the health food aisle to the main produce section, the demand for vegan meat substitutes could skyrocket in years to come.
For importers, manufacturers and distributors of these products – as well as retailers and restaurant owners of course – this presents a huge opportunity to reach a fast-growing market of vegans and flexitarians alike.
Before you take advantage of this growing market, you may be wondering what regulations, legal compliance matters and other protocols you’ll need to deal with to take your product to market. Dennison’s is here to advise you.
Contact us today and we’ll schedule an expert consultation to address any questions you may have.