The Weekend Series: five must-try meat-alternative products
You’re seeing it in our cafes, bars and restaurants, and more and more on our grocery shelves – vegan-friendly and plant-based products are becoming a part of the norm. While many of us in The Weekend Edition office are still carnivorously inclined, we’re supportive of any environmentally sustainable and ethical change in our food industry. Meat-substitute products are becoming more prevalent as a part of home cooking, but which ones are the best? We’ve assembled a hit list of five meat alternatives that are well worth trying.
When it comes to having a strong international profile, Beyond Burger by Beyond Meat is one of the biggest names in the meat-alternative products game. This burger patty doppelganger is the protein of choice for Lord of the Fries’ vegan range, so there’s a good chance you’ve sampled this juicy alternative already. If you’re interested in sourcing a meat alternative that’s as close to the real deal as possible, then this one is it. These patties ‘bleed’ like a real meat patty, which means that they won’t seem out of place at your next barbecue. Beyond Burger patties will hit grocery shelves this month, arriving at selected IGA stores from November 5 and Coles in New South Wales from November 9.
Fënn Foods is another company looking to make a positive impact on the world by producing 100-percent plant-based food products. The company has been founded by acclaimed chef Alejandro Caninco (formerly of perennially hatted restaurant Urbane). Having already scored a legion of fans thanks to its range of sesame cheese, Fënn Foods is about to enter the world of alternative protein with vEEF – a plant-based burger patty that is gluten free, preservative free and cruelty free. In a few weeks vEEF patties will be available Australia wide, with a range of flavours including smoky barbecue, plus a soy-free version on the cards. In good news for Brisbane meat-free eaters, Fënn Foods will soon be supplying patties to Fish Lane’s forthcoming eatery Grassfed – with a menu of six burgers reportedly on offer.
Image: Fënn Foods
The realm of meat alternatives extends far beyond burger patties, and one outfit looking to expand the options for environmentally conscious cooks is Gardein. The product range from Gardein is extensive, with crunchy turk’y cutlets, chick’n strips, mini crabless cakes, golden fishless fillets and meatless meatballs just a fraction of the tasty goods available. Gardein products can be found at select IGA locations, and if you’re in Brisbane you can find the range at The Cruelty Free Shop and The Green Edge.
A leading name in sustainable nutrition, Quorn is a popular supplier of meat-alternative products, made with a smaller environmental footprint than conventional farming. The range of products created by the brains at Quorn includes some mouth-watering interpretations of classic foods – we’re talking schnitzels, sausage rolls, fajita strips, lasagne, nuggets and fish-free fingers. Vegans take note – a bunch of Quorn products contain small amounts of egg white and milk ingredients, although the faux-chicken pieces, fillets, breaded nuggets and hot-and-spicy burgers are vegan friendly. Quorn can be found at both Woolworths and Coles.
If you’re browsing the meat section of Woolworths and come across a curious green package labelled as Minced, then you’ve just stumbled across one of the most popular plant-based meat alternatives currently available. Minced is, well, a minced meat substitute that looks and cooks the same as the meaty variety, except Minced’s texture comes from soy and wheat protein. Beetroot creates the meaty colour, fat comes from coconut and the umami taste is the result of a combination of almonds, tomato and porcini mushrooms. Minced can be used as a substitute in lasagne, spaghetti bolognese and for burger patties – it’s that good. Even better, Funky Fields Minced is packaged in at least 50-percent recycled plastic, so the environmental impact is lessened even further.
Honourable mentions: There are plenty of other meat alternatives on the market worth looking into, including Vegie Delights, Bean Supreme and Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher. Meanwhile, we can’t wait for Sunfed Foods to hit our shores, and we’re big fans of the work done by the team at Food Frontier.
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