Meat Substitutes – What are they made of?

When we hear that the vegan meat market is expanding and that even the most well-known fast-food chains and retailers are already offering vegan meat products, we might think about what these products are actually made of if they contain nothing of animal origin.

First of all, they consist of leguminous plants that provide our bodies with energy and also have a health-protective effect. Their importance in feeding and human nutrition has been known for long and is well known. Because of their beneficial composition, they do not only provide energy to the body, but also have health-protective benefits through fibre and protein. Their regular consumption is highly recommended by both dietitians and various nutritional recommendations. They are a valuable raw material from a gastronomic point of view, as they can be used in many ways: either as a side dish or as a soup and, of course, as one of the main ingredients for meat substitutes. Because of its high protein content, it can be consumed as a standalone meal and is therefore a possible substitute for meat. It is the ideal and one of the most basic sources of protein in a vegan diet. In a meat-free diet, the amino acid content of the legumes must be taken into consideration, since they are not a complete source of protein, in contrary to meat. Plants have a smaller amount of some amino acids, but they can be supplemented with cereals (corn, brown rice, millet, for example) to provide a complete protein.

The nutritional significance of legumes is also illustrated by the fact that 2016 has been designated the International Year of Pulses, highlighting the diversity, values and positive effects of the crop group.