Plant-based meat alternatives really are healthier, new review suggests


The plant-based meat and dairy alternative markets have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years.

Researchers from the University of Bath found evidence suggesting these products are better for both our health and the environment.

Today’s plant-based alternatives may be easier for people to transition to when looking for vegetarian options.

Plant-based meat and dairy products are rapidly-growing industries. Experts valued the global plant-based meat market at over $5 billion last year, with forecasts expecting it to increase by 19% from 2022 through 2030.

And the plant-based dairy alternatives market reportedly totaled $11 billion in 2020 with projections to hit $32 million in 2031.

Now a new study from the University of Bath says that plant-based meat and dairy products are both better for human health and the environment.

The new study recently appeared in the journal Future Foods. What are plant-based meat and dairy products? Meat alternative productsTrusted Source first appeared in the 1960s and they were made from soy. Later, alternatives made of texturized vegetable proteinTrusted Source (TVP) also appeared on the marker.

Today’s plant-based meat alternative products use ingredients like soy, pea protein, oils, potato starch, and various binders and flavorings to closely mimicTrusted Source the texture and taste of real meat.

Plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk dairy productsTrusted Source received a much earlier start, with the first report of soy milkTrusted Source in China about 2,000 years ago.

Although soy milk products continue to be popular, they now share store shelves with dairy alternatives made from oats, rice, almonds, hemp, and coconut.

And today’s dairy alternative products have expanded from just a milk-type beverage to include alternatives for yogurt, butter, cheeses, and ice cream.

Plant-based vs. real meat and dairy productsFor the study, Dr. Bryant and his team reviewed 43 studies looking at the health and environmental factors of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.

Researchers also examined consumer attitudes toward plant-based foods. Based on their research, the team found that 90% of consumers who ate plant-based meat and dairy products followed a flexitarian diet, which allows for moderate animal meat consumption.

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