“ Consumer prices are rising in China….University restaurants use vegetarian meat to pass off as pork….” This is another piece of news that reminds us of China’s black-hearted food products. However, behind this, food processing products of “ artificial meat “ is indirectly being wronged for mixing with fake products. Actually, artificial meat itself exits the positive meaning in terms of food processing skills, nutrition and health.
Artificial meat is not exactly a lovely name. Consumers prefer to call it “ vegetarian meat.” In the industry, “ meat analogue “ is the term used to refer to “ imitation meat “ made from the processing skills of making textured vegetable proteins. It is called “ imitation meat “ because it very much approximates the qualities of real animal muscle fiber (appearance and taste).
By definition, meat analogue is also called meat substitute, mock meat, faux meat , imitation meat or veat. Meat analogue is mock meat that is made from non-animal protein and its appearance and smell are very much like real meat. The market for non-meat food targets primarily on vegetarians. Of course, vegan, ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian and ovo-lacto vegetarian consumers are also included. The reasons for meat-less dietary, besides the religious factor, it also has something to do with the rise of emphasizing on vegetable protein, more and more consumers choose vegetable-protein products for health reasons. In early days, the motives for the Japanese to develop veggie ham were to use cheap vegetable protein as a substitute for animal-protein products which were severely lacked of during postwar times. Surimi is another kind of processed product using fish protein ( or other animal protein such as turkey) to imitate other animal-protein products ( such as mock crab, mock shrimp or non-meat hotdog).
Humans are not unfamiliar with mock meat producing skills and products. Traditional Taiwanese gluten products including veggie chicken, veggie ducks, veggie fish are basically in the category of mock-meat products. Even products made from mushroom stems, tofu and dried beans were great mock-meat products during early times when living goods and materials were severely short of. Recently, with the progress in processing skills, soy protein is successfully transformed into textured vegetable protein (TVP) under high temperatrue and high pressure through single-screw or twin-screw extrusion forming technologies. Not to mention it also helps promote the development of vegetarian meat in the market. Of course, vegetable protein which can be used for food processing is not limited to only soy protein, traditional wheat protein, other types of soy protein and mycoprotein which is derived from mocro-organism fermentation are good materials for vegetable meat research & develoepment and relevant product applications. The very common human non-digestive dietary fiber – konjac fiber products in the market for the past few years are another mock-meat products for consumers to choose from in terms of taste and health reasons.