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December 02, 2021 3 min read
Big news in the office this week: we just got selected as finalist for the Best Meat Alternative category in FoodBev Media’s World Plant-based Awards. (You can check out the shortlist here.) The judging panel considered 110 entries from 20 countries across 15 categories. So obviously, we’re super flattered and excited!
We thought this would be a great time to talk about what we think makes a “good” meat alternative. In the last couple years, the plant-based world has virtually exploded with tons of new brands and products. We’re glad to count ourselves as part of that growing trend and we’re all about putting more plants on your plate, whether it’s just your preference, for your health, for the health of the planet, or all of the above!
Given that we live and breathe plant-based, we’d say we’re pretty much experts. So here are the top qualities we look for in a plant-based meat alternative.
This one is huge. We’ve had our fair share of fake meats that taste meaty enough, but they just don’t *feel* like meat. They can be super mushy or way too tough, a little slimy, or dry and crusty —too smooth, too crumbly, or just...not right. And when something has a weird texture, even if it’s got great flavor, it’s hard to keep eating it. The texture of meat is hard to replicate! It’s dense and satisfying without being too chewy or mushy. That satisfying, hearty texture was what we aimed for when formulating our crumbles. In production, we really put our pea protein through its paces to create the crumbles’ unique texture and shape. For more info about our process, check out our Sustainability page.
A good plant-based meat has to taste good. Well, duh. But in our experience, good flavor can be a tough nut to crack. When you’re cooking with a meat alternative, you want it to work with your recipe – not overwhelm it with its own flavor, whether that’s fake beef, chicken, sausage, etc. A good meat alternative fits into all of your favorite dishes with no odd aftertaste. It works WITH your favorite seasonings and sauces to replace ground meat so well, you can’t tell. That’s why we made our Unseasoned crumbles just that: Unseasoned. You can flavor them how you like, without having to fight against added flavors of random things like beet juice, nutritional yeast and whatever “natural flavor” means when you see it on an ingredient label.
Had an amazing dinner planned, only to realize you never took that meat out of your freezer to thaw in time? Found a new recipe to try but don’t want to spend an hour cooking? We’ve definitely been there. And while it’s true that sometimes great recipes just take time, we believe that quick and easy can (and should) also be delicious. Plant-based cooking especially gets a bad rap for being well, hard, but we whole-heartedly disagree and raise you our crumbles as proof. They don’t need to be refrigerated and can sit in your pantry for 2 whole years. When you’re ready to get cooking, they rehydrate with water or stock in just 5 minutes or less. Then you can cook them just like you’d cook ground meat. Easy.
A lot of meat alternatives are made with a lot of weird ingredients. “Unpronounceables”, thickening agents, juices, dyes and powders that hold the concoctions together until they get to your mouth. Natural ingredients or not, hefty ingredient lists kind of freak us out. Especially if you have allergies, dietary restrictions, or just preferences, it’s a time-suck to read labels and make sure you’re down with everything. We think meat alternatives should be simple and clean, so you just know there’s nothing to worry about. That’s why all of our products are made with literally ONE basic ingredient: pea protein. We’re soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, Kosher and vegan, great for those with celiac disease, lactose intolerance and allergies. No wonder we’re a finalist at this year’s World Plant Based Awards!
We’d love to know what qualities are most important to YOU in a meat alternative. With so many new brands out there – how do you choose?!
And if you’ll be at Plant Based World Expo in New York next week, let us know and come say hi at booth #505! On Dec. 9, during that show, they’ll be announcing the winners of the World Plant Based Awards...so wish us luck!
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