Superfood Plant Proteins – How They Compare to Meat
Over 700,000 people signed up for Veganuary in 2023. However, it’s estimated that ten times more people actually participated. This is an impressive feat, considering that only 1,280 people signed up when the campaign started in 2015. These numbers reflect a global trend towards plant-based eating. Statistics show that following a vegan or vegetarian diet is better for the environment than eating meat and offers many health benefits.
Why Choose Plant Proteins Over Meat?
Replacing meat with plant-based proteins can help you reduce your carbon footprint. According to the United Nations, growing food crops generally uses less land, energy, and water than farming animals for meat. Animal farms take up a lot of space, often leading to deforestation and soil erosion, eventually affecting the water cycle, air quality, and overall climate.
Farm animals like cows and sheep also emit methane as they digest their food, a potent greenhouse gas that exacerbates climate change. Legumes, vegetables, and grains have a much lower1 environmental impact.
Additionally, eating more plants is good for your body. They contain less cholesterol, saturated fat, and more fiber and antioxidants than animal products.
4 Superfood Plant Proteins and How They Compare to Meat
Soy is a long-standing meat alternative thanks to its high protein content. You can cook whole soybeans as part of a delicious curry or stir-fry or enjoy them in a processed form such as miso, tofu, or tempeh.
Soybean production releases much less carbon dioxide than cattle farming. A recent study2 by the University of Michigan found that soybean farming only emits 1.75 kg of carbon dioxide per 1000 calories of food. It takes 36kg of CO2 to produce an equal portion of beef. Plus, it takes over 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef.3 It only takes 256 gallons to produce a pound of soybeans.
Freekeh is a cereal grain made from green durum wheat that contains about 20 grams of protein4 per cup – a similar amount to a cup of lentils. Wheat is generally a cool-season crop that does not require much irrigation, and only 7% of America’s wheat fields are irrigated.5 Plus, wheat production has a lower carbon footprint than meat and dairy production; each kilogram of wheat takes only one kilogram of CO2 to produce.
Khorasan wheat (commercially known as Kamut®) is an ancient grain from Egypt. It’s considered the highest protein grain and contains about 10 grams of protein per cup. Unlike animal-based proteins, Kamut is rich in fiber and antioxidants and provides nearly 100% of the recommended daily selenium intake. Selenium is an essential mineral that supports healthy thyroid functioning.
There are eight grams of protein in a cup of cooked quinoa. Farmers in the Andes region have been growing quinoa using traditional, sustainable farming practices for centuries. A 2020 study6 found that quinoa farming (conventional and organic) emits 7.82kg of CO2 per kilogram of protein the crop produces. That’s 40 times less greenhouse gas emissions than beef! This ancient grain is also naturally pest-resistant and does not require chemical pesticides.
Use Natural Flavorings for Delicious Plant-Based Products
The demand for plant-based foods is growing, and incorporating protein-rich grains and legumes into your product range can help you appeal to eco-conscious consumers. Advanced Biotech’s natural plant extracts, oils, and oleoresins make the perfect addition to any vegan-friendly dish. Browse our premium food flavorings online or contact us to learn more about our product range.