Is Australia’s growing love of plant based food a fad or the future?

At QualDes as food science consultants, we love all the new and exciting product ideas we get to work on for our clients. We are having a lot of clients coming to us to develop products that are Vegan suitable or have some restrictions on what can and can’t be used in the product. This has opened our eyes up to the world of veganism, and it appears a lot of people although not completely vegan have some level of veganism in them.

Vegan, Vegetarian or Plant-Based food alternative eating, how far do you go when selecting what you eat?

There seem to be many levels now of plant-based eating.  It can be very confusing. Do you eat to save the animals, save all living things, save the planet, or all three? Or maybe you just try to do your bit to save the planet, or just don’t want to have the guilt hanging over you, by substituting some of your diet with plant-based alternative, but not being able to cut out the convenience and taste of animal products altogether.   

Some vegetarians exclude dairy and some don’t. Some vegetarians may not consume eggs. Some people avoid products tested on animals but may not be vegan or vegetarian. Most vegans avoid household products, clothing or other items made from animals.

What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

The Vegan Society  describes veganism as not just what you eat but a way of living. “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”

The Vegetarian Society  describes vegetarians as people that don’t eat fish, meat or chicken. 

I myself am not vegan but do feel I have a level of vegetarian in me. I will use meat alternatives like chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans. This means I only eat meat a few times a week and rarely eat steaks to cut down my footprint on the number of animals that have sacrificed their life. I consume only free range eggs, free range chicken and I try to buy other free-range meats but these are hard to come by. I do this to help ensure the animals have been treated kindly. I don’t buy cosmetics tested on animals. Do you have a level of vegetarian or veganism in you?

Meat Substitutes

We have seen a lot more images in the market of meat substitutes. I find it interesting that a juicy veggie burger like the one posted by the Daily Mail Australia of Sydney’s Milk Lane Restaurant 100% vegan burger would be visually appealing to a vegan. It still looks like a juicy bit of beef, crispy fatty bacon and oozing cheese. 

I also find it interesting how a vegan can eat at a Burger Joint, selecting the vegan option when the burger joint is serving copious amounts of beef each day. Is the vegan not still supporting the business even when they have bought their veggie burger not their beef burger?

Are there any vegans out there that could share with us their take on this?

Are you like me where you feel guilty devouring your juicy steak in front of your vegan friend when out for a nice dinner catch up?  I had a vegan cousin come stay and I consciously noticed even my body wash was made of goats milk! 

I also wonder what about fish that are farmed specifically for eating? Tassal Salmon has Tasmanian grown salmon. The Salmon would not exist if they were not bred by the farm. As it is a specifically designed salmon farm, the turtles don’t get harmed as they would if fished in the ocean. Does that make it ok to eat?

What about buying organic, free range, home farmed animal products in which the bees, cows and chickens are having a wonderful life? Does that make it ok to eat the eggs, drink cow’s milk, eat the honey?

Plant based foods are on the rise

Well whatever path you choose, vegan products, meat substitutes and plant-based foods are on the rise.  In the latest Food and Drink Business  an interesting article called “Plant-Based meat alternative gaining ground” talks about  how Food Frontier (FF) reports that in the US, 86% of people who consume plant-based meat alternatives do not consider themselves vegetarian or vegan.  Plant based meat start-ups like beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are “directly targeting the most valuable market for plant based meats: omnivorous millennials. Beyond Meats sales increasing 70% in 2018.  More than half of US non-millennials eat meat alternatives, rising to nearly 8 in 10 millennials. Almost one-third of millennials report that they are trying to eat a more plant-based diet” 

Follow our blogs to see more on how Vegan products are changing the way we eat.

Written by Ursula Gurney, Food Science Consultant here at QualDes

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