Plant-based imitation of meat products: How informed is the consumer?
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Laboratory of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Publication date: 2022-05-27
Public Health Toxicol 2022;2(Supplement Supplement 1):A29
Fossil evidence suggest that animal meat and marrow were incorporated in human diet in early stone age. This was a major evolutionary step because meat and marrow are rich in energy yield, essential amino acids and micronutrients. Such dietary change supported the transformation of body size in ancestral lineage, which gave rise to modern humans. Lately, we notice a growing trend accompanied with considerable investments in plant-based foods imitating meat and meat products. It is a major challenge for animal production worldwide. Our intention here is to ensure that consumers are well informed about the processing of plant-based products and that their labelling and marketing practices are transparent. We review the available literature to assess objectively the profile of these plant-based meat alternatives and focus on consumers studies to assess how much informed they are since this change in the diet could become another evolutionary change with unknown consequences. The literature reveals promising scenarios regarding plant-based pilot products in the market, but without verifiable evidence regarding environmental consequences of large-scale production. We conclude that there is scarce evidence of health implications for consumers. The whole issue should be viewed in the broader context of global farming communities and their sustainability.
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