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All You Need To Know About: Plant Based Proteins

14 May 2019 by Food&HotelAsia

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Beyond Meat Inc. goes public. Burger King introduces the Impossible Whopper (the original’s plant-based twin) and Gordon Ramsay, the loud-mouthed chef famously known for hating on vegans, announces that he is “giving plant-based a try”. 

The food world is on the cusp of a revolution, and the way we consume protein might just change forever. 

Touted as healthier, cheaper and more sustainable to produce than animal protein, plant-based proteins have been taking the world by storm over the recent years, with everyone from superstar athletes like Venus Williams to Bill Gates promoting the benefits of plant-based living, deriving all their nutrients from plant sources and eschewing meat. Across social media, we are constantly seeing #plantbased restaurants popping up every other day, or learning that our favourite restaurant is adding plant-based alternatives to the menu. 

What was once seen as a hippy/alternative way of living is now well beyond being considered just another food trend, and is becoming mainstream as more research and studies made public show the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, from weight loss to even reversing the effects of cancer. 

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But what is it? 

Plant-based proteins, as the term suggests, are proteins derived exclusively from plant sources such as beans, whole grains and nuts. They are thought to be healthier as unlike animal-derived protein, plant sources cause less inflammation in the body, and are also usually not accompanied with the higher level of cholesterol and saturated fat typical in meat products. 

Why is protein important? 

Plant-based or not, protein is a macronutrient that the body needs to maintain and repair muscle and tissue. Made up of small compounds called amino acids, our body utilises 22 different ones, and can produce all but 9, which must come from food sources. The argument for meat-based proteins is that they are complete (contains all 9), where the only plant-based complete source of protein available comes from quinoa. However, it is important to note that from a nutritional standpoint, eating a wide variety of vegetables and legumes will easily allow you to get all 9.

Where can I find them? 

In its whole state, some of the best sources of plant-based proteins can be found in foodstuff such as nuts, lentil, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, beans and hempseed. 

Processed, you can easily find plant-based protein powders, energy bars and even enriched carbohydrate products like pasta readily available in even generic supermarkets. 

Why the hype? 

Plant-based proteins are not new, so you might be wondering why it is only now gaining more traction than ever. As consumers become more aware of their food choices, and question their sources, the shift toward plant-based nutrition is a natural one as countless research and studies prove time and time again that a whole foods, plant-based diet is not only the healthiest thing you can do for your body, but also the most sustainable one for earth. As plant-based diets become more popular, the demand for plant proteins surges, and producers, restaurants and brands are becoming increasingly creative with their offerings. 2019 is the year where meat-free, plant-based protein alternatives is taking off, and we cannot wait to what else is in store for this revolution in the years to come, and its impact on our industry. We are especially looking forward to seeing what our exhibitors will bring to table at FHA Food & Beverage in 2020, where we expect the plant-based movement to be really ramping up. 

Exhibitor highlight 

Nature’s Superfoods

Focusing on nutrient-dense superfoods, Nature’s Superfoods offers 100% organic and affordable health food products sourced from their countries of origin. 

Nature’s Field Snacks Manufacturing 

Dedicated to healthy, premium ready-to-eat nuts Nature’s Field develops a wide range of healthy and tasty snacks that are free from artificial flavours and chemicals. 

Spectrum Ingredients 

From nuts to superfood blends to whole grains, Spectrum Ingredients pride themselves on high quality, premium, globally sourced products that also include gluten-free and organic foodstuff.

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