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The world is witnessing a steady rise in vegetarianism, which, according to Nestle, is “here to stay”, essentially dismissing the possibility of this being a fad or a temporary phase. The living organisms and the nutrients derived from them that have seen their popularity catapulted sky-high are plants and plant-based protein supplements.
Proteins are some of the most essential building blocks of the human body that are found everywhere in the body. They make up bodily enzymes that power several chemical reactions and hemoglobin that carry and deliver oxygen throughout the body. One of the main sources of proteins are animals and animal products such as meat. However, environment researchers and scientists have gradually come to realize how excessive meat consumption is creating an ecological imbalance and discretely fueling global warming.
Many have stressed the urgency to adopt predominantly vegetarian diets, even to the extreme of going the vegan way. According to a study conducted by the Oxford Martin School in the University of Oxford, a global shift towards vegetable and fruit-based diets could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 67%, save close to 8 million lives by 2050, and reduce healthcare costs by up to USD 1.5 trillion annually.
As the above statistics suggest, there are obvious long-term benefits to espousing a vegetarian diet. These benefits are not confined to health and the environment alone; they present huge business opportunities as well and many companies are trying to gain as much ground as possible in this fledgling market. In fact, new product launches have already become the norm of the day.
Ingredion Unveils its Organic Protein Product
In March 2019, Illinois-based Ingredion launched the Vitessence Pulse 1803, its organic protein isolate extracted from the pea plant. It was certified as organic by Quality Assurance International in San Diego. The product contains 80% protein and boasts a wide range of applications. For example, it can be mixed in ready-to-drink beverages and baked foods and used as an alternative to meat and milk in terms of source of protein.
DuPont Nutrition and Health Upgrades its Supro and Tupro Product Profile
Kansas-based DuPont Nutrition recently upped the ante in the market after it added six plant based protein nuggets to its popular Supro and Tupro product line. The new offerings contain more protein and less sodium, making it a health lover’s delight and a nutritionist’s comfort food. While Supro nuggets contain 80% soy protein, the Tupro variety constitutes 70% pea protein. All of these additions are fully organic with bio-engineering involved.
Kellogg Introduces its Version of an American Cheeseburger; Beyond Meat Lives up to its Name
Kellogg has devised a new formula of blending innovation with creativity. In March 2019, Michigan-based Kellogg Co. launched its MorningStar Farms “Cheezeburger” that comprises a quarter-pound patty made entirely of plant protein along with an unusual plant-based variant of cheddar cheese.
Joining the innovation bandwagon was California-based Beyond Meat which came out with its ground beef substitute, Beyond Beef, composed out of rice, moong, and pea proteins. The company claims that not only is the product high in protein content, but it also mimics the taste of beef.
This upsurge in the competition is not a sudden phenomenon, but, instead, has been brewing for many years and is now peaking as consumer behavior is undergoing drastic change.
Veganism is the Way Forward
Compelling figures provide the necessary evidence that veganism is gaining traction all across the globe. For instance, a Vegan Society-commissioned study revealed that since 2009, the number of vegans in the UK has risen at a stupefying overall rate of 350%. The Chinese government recently released new dietary guidelines which may result in its 1.3 billion reduce their meat intake by half of the current amount. In Portugal, a 400% rise in vegetarianism has been observed in the last decade, states research by Nielsen Holdings.
The above trends and developments reflect the changing nutrition proclivities of the current and the future generations. Awareness regarding the importance of perpetuating the cause of sustainable development can be one of the key reasons for this rapidly transforming behavior. But will unbridled conversion to veganism have the desired ecological effect? And what will be the economic ramifications? Only time will tell.