Mock Meat: A fad or a fix – Times of India


Since the pandemic, there are thousands of people across the globe, who are going vegetarian and vegan every single day due to growing awareness regarding health and sustainability as well as compassion for animals. Moreover, the bird flu outbreak has only added to the number of people avoiding consumption of poultry. However, many who have turned to plant-based protein overnight do miss the taste of eggs, meat and other animal-based food items. This is where mock meat, a segment of products that taste, smell and feel very close to their animal counterpart, comes to their rescue. “With the release of the movie โ€˜Game Changersโ€™ on Netflix, a lot of people opted to give up on meat and some even moved to veganism. Then came the Covid โ€“ 19 pandemic that brought with it the scare of eating meat. This prompted a lot of people to ditch meat and move to sustainable food alternatives that provide the required nutrition that comes from meat,” says Pooja Bhargava, Holistic Nutritionist and Fitness Expert.

We find out more about the trend and whether mock meat is truly healthy and helping people with the switch.


How the pandemic impacted our food choices


Spread of the Covid-19 virus and bird flu provoked a new thought process when it comes to food safety and immunity building. “In 2020, we saw a sharp rise in the demand for protein-rich and antioxidant-rich diet. At the same time, more and more people were seen turning to vegetarianism leading to mock meat gaining popularity,” says Sweedal Trinidade,

Senior Dietetics Officer, PD Hinduja Hospital. Our food choices have a large impact on our environment and the ecosystem at large. “Diets that minimise environmental damage, contribute to food and nutrition security, conserve biodiversity and are accessible, economical, affordable, nutritionally optimum are sustainable diets. Use of mock meat can certainly make our diets more sustainable,” adds Trinidade.


Mock meat and its nutritive value


There are plant-based meat brands selling mock duck, mock fish fillets, mock pepper salami etc. These products are made using wheat, protein and starch. “Mock meat has certainly become popular since the past year. However, everyone must watch out and understand some of the varieties available in the market and highly processed options which are not advisable. Try and find plant-based options for mock meat and check the ingredients used. For example, one of the biggest drawbacks of processed mock meat is sodium. One portion of a mock meat burger contains around 40 per cent of RDV,” says wellness expert Dr Manoj Kutteri.

Trend alert: Plant-based fake meat

With the vegan movement gaining more traction, Veganuary 2021 is set to be inclined towards plant based products in a major way. ”

For the food industry, sky’s the limit when it comes to innovation, everything from vegan ice cream to meat-free burgers are up for offers. This increase comes from independent producers and start-ups, as well as supermarket owned brand products. When it comes to product launches, 2021 might bring with it a slew of offerings, from fish-free tuna and deli-style vegan wraps, to plant-based desserts, offering independent retailers an increasing number of options for setting up and stocking a vegan section.

A trend sneaking in through the back door fake meat that’s made out of vegetables, instead of processed fake meat,โ€ says Chef Gautam Mehrishi.



GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT
WHAT IS MOCK MEAT?


Mock meat or meat analogue is a meat substitute that resembles the texture and consistency of meat and meat products and therefore used in preparations similar to the ones using meat products. It is often made from vegetarian ingredients and non-dairy products. Soya, gluten and pea protein are some commonly used ingredients.


NUMBER GAME


There is approx 17 gm of protein in 100 gm of mock meat


Some of the most commonly available mock meat varieties are:
– Soy-based. However, soy is high in phytoestrogens, hence it is not the best choice.
– Grain-based poultry
– Quinoa flour-based mock meats have all the required 9 amino acids and is a great choice
– Rice flour- Jackfruit based chicken is a great option too as it is very high in fiber
– Wheat flour-based mock meat is used in biryanis and burgers
– Seitan is a plant based-mock meat that is high in protein


EXPERT SPEAK

Sodium is often used in processed mock meat for adding flavor and increasing its shelf life. High amounts of sodium present in some mock meat varieties can put stress on your renal system. Hence, make sure to check the ingredients.


Sweedal Trinidade


Mock meat can be a preferred choice over carb-heavy vegetarian food. Plant-based proteins have a number of health benefits. They help in balancing the blood sugar levels and are good for the gut. They also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases as they are usually free of cholesterol.

– Manisha Chopra, Nutritionist

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