Stepping back into the history of plant-based meat

Stepping back into the history of plant-based meat

For many, plant-based meat alternatives seem like new age and upcoming concepts, which have come into the news only recently. However, this is far from true. Going by the facts and digging deep into history, it has been found that the first traces of plant-based meat date back to the 20th century.

Early Introduction:

One of the first products to make an entry into the market was vegetable patties, which attempted to resemble meat. The reason behind this kind of introduction was to attend to health concerns and deal with meat scarcity.

Speaking about plant-based products, we cannot overlook vegetarian and vegan diets. Even though this comes across as a brand new concept too, history says that these diets first became frontrunners between the 1950s and the 1960s. It’s just that conversations around these diets have magnified lately.

The Hero Ingredient:

If there is one thing that has changed in terms of plant-based mock meats from then and now, it is the hero ingredient in these products. For instance, speaking about Wakao Foods, all our mock meat-based products are churned out of jackfruits. However, during the earlier days, the hero ingredient in these products was either mycoprotein or textured vegetable protein. Leading brands of that time were Quorn and Morning Star Farms. Here again, such food choices were aimed at leading a healthier life.

The 1970s & 1980s Shift:

A major shift in the plant-based meat industry came during the 1970s when the core reason behind the production of mock meats changed. At this point, companies strived to come up with mock meat substitutes to source the demand and initiate a transformation in people's eating habits.

This was followed by the introduction of Tofurky during the 1980s. With the intent to offer additional food options to vegetarians and vegans, a substitute for turkey was introduced in the market.

21st century and Beyond:

The 21st century is when a real breakthrough took place in the mock meat industry. Now the reasons behind introducing mock meats in the market became broader as the goal now wasn’t just to introduce meat substitutes but to also make sure that the mock meat products entering the market are a match in terms of taste and texture with traditional meat.

Yet another breakthrough came in the form of the use of technology and innovation. Food science and advanced technology proved useful in improving the quality and diversity of mock meat products. No doubt, we at Wakao Foods continue to enjoy riding on these developments.

Apart from this, the environmental angle initiated a transformation in the mock meat industry too. Mock meat products came across as a solid solution to eliminate serious environmental concerns like greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, a common occurrence in the case of traditional meat due to animal slaughtering. 

Moreover, many leading fast-food chains and grocery outlets came forward to welcome mock-meat products, which in turn helped with mainstream adoption.

For a driven mock-meat brand like ours, the history of mock-meats only reassures us about the journey we have set out on. We look forward to doing good for people, their health, and the environment.

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