For reasons of planetary and personal health, many people are trying to swap from animal-based (AB) to plant-based (PB) foods. Supermarkets are tapping into this growing sector by increasing ranges of PB convenience foods and ready-meals. This project compared 10 categories of plant-based ready-made main courses to equivalent traditional (AB) versions (e.g. PB lasagne and beef lasagne). Comparisons were made using front- and back-of-packet nutritional information, e.g. calories, protein provided, salt and fat content, added sugar and also price. Additionally, levels of fortification were analysed.
Main findings were that PB foods tended to conform to expectations by being lower in protein, fat and energy and higher in carbohydrate and fibre than AB alternatives. Salt content was similar, but there tended to be more added sugar in PB versions. It was noted that quantities of protein comparable to AB versions were provided by PB products containing concentrated plant protein sources (e.g. soy protein concentrates and isolates) such as non-chicken nuggets and meat-free burgers. Protein equivalence was much lower in more mixed-style dishes (e.g. curry or chilli and rice).
Only 6% of analysed PB products had been fortified to any degree. This matters because there are some vitamins and minerals (e.g. vitamin B12, iron and calcium) that are found, if not exclusively, then in larger quantities and/or more digestible forms in AB foods.
Permanent link to this resource: https://doi.org/10.24384/7ewq-a497
Faculty of Health and Life SciencesDepartment of Biological and Medical Sciences
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