11.2 Diet: Alternatives to Meat – Faux Meat

Author: Ting An (Ann) Peng

ABSTRACT: Faux meat is also known as meat analogue, meat substitute, mock meat, or imitation meat, that has been in demand over the years because we repeatedly encounter animal diseases, the global shortage of animal protein, larger demands for religious (halal) food, and economic, along with environmental reasons.

Fig. 1: Energy input in megajoule to produce 1 kg of protein (Joshi, V., & Kumar, S. 2016)


The faux meat industry is receiving traction throughout recent years because there is an increase in consumers considering healthy diets, there is the concern about rising meat prices, an increase in the popularity of vegetarianism, and there has been proficient research that’s done on meat alternatives in comparison to the consumption of red meat. There is a wide spectrum of faux meat products, which is why it is popular to focus exclusively on foods that try to imitate meat. The faux meat production industry targets substitute products to look, smell, feel and taste like meat, as well as, having a comparable protein content.

There are many health benefits of meat analog consumption over meat such as protection against heart disease, lower blood cholesterol, reducing the risk of cancer and increasing bone mass (Sadler, 2004). With changing demographics, dietary patterns, and drive for environmental conservation, meat alternatives have a huge potential of becoming a part of our daily food habits and source of nutrition. The success of meat alternatives depends on the texture, nutritive value, and streamlined regulatory measures.

Animal agriculture has a direct impact on deforestation, water consumption and waste management, anthropogenic climate change and the deindustrialization of our multispecies relationships. To put things into perspective, animal agriculture accounts for between 14.5 percent and 18 percent of all greenhouse emissions (Steinfeld et al. 2013). A meat-based diet requires a significantly greater amount of environmental resources per calorie compared to a grain-based diet, as it has been estimated on average 2 to 15 kg of plant foods are needed to produce 1 kg of meat (Joshi, V., & Kumar, S. 2016; Fig. 1). At the beginning of 2010, an estimated 27 billion animals were domesticated as livestock globally, with 66 billion slaughtered each year around the globe (Schlatzer, 2010). Production of protein from ruminant meats such as beef and lamb contribute to emissions approximately 250 times higher than legumes. In 2018, the global plant-based meat industry was $11.9 billion and is projected to reach $21.2 billion in 2025 (Zion Market, 2019). Europe leads the world in meat alternatives, followed by the other geographic regions (The Vegan Society Statistics, 2021).

A perceived lack of naturalness and poor cultural acceptance poses significant challenges, and increased awareness is needed among people to try different, newer meat alternatives. If no provisions are made to avoid further growth in the livestock sector, meat production is forecasted to rise to 465 million tons by 2050 (Steinfeld and Gerber, 2006), due to the growth of the global population as well as a forecasted increase of per capita consumption of meat.


Animal Production and Climate Change: A Scientific Discourse On the Influence of Nutrition On the Environment and Climate [Introduction]. (2011). In 1288541288 949745987 M. Schlatzer (Author), Animal Production and Climate Change: A Scientific Discourse On the Influence of Nutrition On the Environment and Climate. Wien: Lit.

Gerber, P., Steinfeld, H., Henderson, B., Mottet, A., Opio, C., Dijkman, J., Falcucci, A., Tempio, G. (2013). Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock [PDF]. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Joshi, V., & Kumar, S. (2016, January). Meat Analogues: Plant based alternatives to meat products- A review [PDF].

O’connor, A. (2019, December 03). Fake meat vs. real meat. Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/well/eat/fake-meat-vs-real-meat.html

Sadler, M. J. (2003, November 07). Meat alternatives – market developments and health benefits. Retrieved February 27, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224403002073?vi a%3Dihub

The Vegan Society. (2021). The Vegan Society Statistics. Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://www.vegansociety.com/news/media/statistics

Zion Market. (2019, March 27). Global plant based meat market is expected to reach Around USD 21.23 billion by 2025. Retrieved March 3, 2021, from https://www.zionmarketresearch.com/news/plant-based-meat-market


Ann is a third-year student studying Interior Design at Ryerson University, she is intrigued by the intricacies of design (fascinating how simplicity is also an intricacy). Her design veers towards functionality and empathy, a hard shell with soft insides. Currently, she’s venturing her way into the commercial aspect of design where she is avid about experiencing new opportunities and saying “yes” to challenges that will allow her to do what is right for the future of design.

Leave a Reply