Many believe that vegetarians and vegans loathe meat dishes. But that’s not true, most people love the taste of sausage, meat loaf or meatloaf. It just can’t come from the animal. That doesn’t sound logical, but there are reasons.
- Most vegans like the taste of meat and sausage.
- Plant-based sausages, meatballs and schnitzel satisfy the longing for the usual food.
- Vegan food research is working on the perfect meat substitute.
The community of vegetarians and vegans is growing day by day, and with it the range of meat-free ready-made products. It is noticeable how many of them imitate traditional sausages, roasts or poultry dishes. So do the veggies see themselves after hearty home cooking and products from the butcher’s shop?
Refraining from meat for moral reasons
63 percent of those who do without animal foods cite ecological and ethical reasons. Only eleven percent simply don’t like meat. That was the result of a study at the University of Jena. Most vegetarians and vegans do not want animals to be slaughtered for their diet. You don’t want to eat dead animals. But they certainly appreciate the taste of meat dishes.
“Meat” comes from protein-rich plants
Meat substitutes made from soy, lupins or wheat protein (gluten) must then be used as the basic products for chili con carne, salami pizza or bacon pancakes. With the help of modern food chemistry, the vegetable protein suppliers get texture and taste that come close to the animal original. And while the vegetarian roast chicken is very reminiscent of rubber eagles, the meatless Bolognese sauce can hardly be distinguished from the original.
Why not just vegetables?
The preference of many veggies for well-known dishes – which in Germany mostly consist of meat and sausage – has to do with childhood and local food culture. What you like as a child remains a lifelong preference. Smells from the kitchen are often associated with pleasant childhood experiences. Saying goodbye to it is much harder than saying goodbye to meat. “It is hardly possible to part with positive eating memories. Eating has a lot to do with emotions, ”says nutritionist Jutta Kamensky from Ulm.
Meat substitute is anything but “organic”
However, imitation sausage and meat substitutes are not exactly biologically valuable food. A lot of food chemistry is required to turn gluten into a veggie roast beef. This contradicts the demands of traditional vegetarians on healthy wholefood nutrition with fresh foods. Too many flavorings and additives, too much salt and fat in meat substitutes therefore criticized the Hamburg consumer center some time ago.
Perfect steaks, but without dead animals
For all those who want to be vegan and dream of Wiener Schnitzel at night, representatives of the “Future Food” movement are active. Cooks, physicists, chemists and environmentalists work as start-up entrepreneurs in kitchens and laboratories on the vegan diet of the future. It should protect resources, be healthy and taste good. One of their goals is to use vegetable protein to make substitutes for meat, cheese and dairy products that can no longer be distinguished from the original: visually, in terms of taste, in terms of texture.
The next generation of vegetable steaks and chicken breasts is not yet ready for the market. Sometimes the consistency is lacking, sometimes the taste. But the organic hobbyists are certain that their high-tech methods will soon reconcile carnal preferences and vegan diets.