Meat consumption is taking a heavy toll on our planet. As one of the most polluting industries in the world after the electricity industry, the livestock industry brings a broad spectrum of harms to the environment. Here are 5 of the best alternative protein companies for meat-lovers to lower their carbon footprints, without sacrificing the taste of meat products, or their nutritional content!
Livestock cultivation is one of the most greenhouse gas-intensive activities – it accounts for up to 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, animals like cows and sheep contain bacteria in their stomachs to ferment food. When passing gas, they emit methane, a gas that is 84 times more concentrated than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
Raising livestock also requires extensive land – it’s taking up one-third of the world’s total land and this will only increase with an increasing demand for animal products. In order to create more pastures, the industry has become the main culprit for deforestation.
What’s more, about 40% of the harvested crops in the world are used to feed animals. Besides, production of animal products requires loads of freshwater. 100 grams of fish and beef require 2 629L and 1 375L of water respectively, compared to plant-based protein like peas (178L) and soybeans (93L). Animal excreta, antibiotics and hormones, fertilisers and pesticides used in livestock feed contaminate the water, thus causing water pollution.
Plant-based meat greatly reduces the environmental impacts of meat consumption and helps avoid the cancer risks that red meat brings.
Plant-based products have about one-tenth the carbon costs of animal-based foods. Meatless meat can make a huge difference for the environment by minimising land use, water use, and combating climate change.
- Gardein (Canada)
The award-winning plant-based meat brand is passionate about helping the world eat less meat with their vegan, nutritious and convenient everyday foods. Gardein’s top-rated products include meatless chick’n tenders, golden fishless filet, ground beef, breakfast sausage patties and many more. The wide range of products help you skip the meat without missing your favourite foods.
Gardein’s creates meat-like fibres from a blend of soy, wheat, pea proteins, potato starch and veggie fibres. Their products are rich in protein, with no cholesterol and trans fat!
- Quorn (UK)
As an eco-conscious brand, Quorn’s sustainability team closely examines the carbon footprint of their products – from the ingredients of food, the energy used in factories, transportation to the packaging. All the data are made public on their website.
Quorn uses a meat substitute called mycoprotein derived from a fermented natural fungus. Mycoprotein is high in protein with 11g per 100g, and fibre at 6g per 100g. It is also low in fat, saturated fat and carbohydrates. It is a good source of calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Mycoprotein itself is a complete protein which contains all nine essential amino acids for adults.
Their amazing range of products include meatless chicken nuggets, meatballs, fish fingers, minced meat, pepperoni and ham!
- OmniFoods (Hong Kong & Canada)
Founded by the Hong Kong enterprise Green Monday, OmniFoods is a food tech company with a Canadian-based R&D team. Established in April 2018, the up-and-coming brand aims to innovate food that will treat the planet, animals and humans better.
Their scientist team innovates food 2.0: healthier and low-carbon alternatives, based on Asian culinary culture while ensuring that the ingredients are cruelty-free, cholesterol-free, antibiotic-free and hormone-free.
In just two years, they have launched OmniPork, OmniPork Luncheon, OmniPork Strip and premade meals in several global markets. The calorie, saturated fat and cholesterol content of OmniPork is 68%, 100% and 100% lower than ground pork respectively.
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Their variety of vegan and nutritious Asian style foods are leading a new wave in the foodtech trend.
- JUST (USA)
The American food manufacturing company specialises in making sustainable plant-based eggs with cutting-edge science and technology.
Made from the magic ingredient mung bean which scrambles like eggs, JUST eggs have zero cholesterol and less saturated fat, but a similar protein content to eggs (5g of protein/serving). Simply scramble the liquid egg on a pan or add them to your favourite recipes, from simple omelettes to banana bread and pancakes.
They have also created JUST Egg Folded – a toaster-ready, pre-cooked egg patty. Tuck them into your breakfast sandwiches or chop it up for noodles topping and stir-fries!
- Impossible Foods (USA)
Last on our list of the best alternative protein companies, Impossible Foods, one of the biggest plant-based meat companies along with Beyond Meat, is arguably the most meat-like protein alternative on the market.
Being marketed to meat-eating customers and aimed to replace parts of customers’ meat purchases, the Impossible Burger famously bleeds, thanks to a meat protein called heme grown from yeast. Not only does it imitate the satisfying beefy taste of burger patties, but it also immensely lowers the carbon footprint of cow cultivation. A new analysis reveals the carbon footprint of Impossible is 89% smaller than a beef burger. Impossible Burger 2.0 uses 87% less water, 96% less land than beef, and cuts water contamination by 92%.
The company is expanding their product range by launching Impossible Sausage and Impossible pork in 2020.
Meat alternatives have a huge potential to save our environment. Right now, however, the share of the market is not big enough to impact those dire problems. We hope the eco-friendly brands introduced above will motivate you to alter your eating habits!