Demand for 'Meat' made from plants growing beyond vegetarian diets
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With an increasing number of Koreans embracing vegetarian diets, more plant-based 'meat' products are being introduced to the country.
And companies have been working to mimic not only the taste and texture of meat, but also the juiciness.
Park Se-young has more.
The patties sizzling on the grill are made out of plants, …with their main ingredient being pea protein.
At this burger joint, veggie burgers are usually ordered by vegetarians and foreign customers.
"We're offering an option for customers who have trouble digesting beef, do not like beef, or are looking for healthy food."
According to industry sources, about ten-thousand packages of the meat-free patty product made by a plant-based food company in the U.S. …were sold in just one month after being introduced to Korean consumers in March.
And Korea's Lotte Food has recently launched plant-based nuggets made of wheat protein.
They're said to have preserved not only the taste and texture of chicken, …but also meat juices using plant-based oil.
"Because the nuggets are made of plant-based protein, they have high protein content and low fat and calories. They also do not contain cholesterol."
Vegan patties made using beans have been shunned by many in the past because their texture is different from actual meat.
While it's still difficult for meat substitutes to resemble the actual thing, …companies have been working to create a meat-like taste and texture by using vegetable protein and ingredients like fiber and yeast.
According to the Korea Vegetarian Union, one to one-and-a-half million Koreans are estimated to be vegetarians, …which is more than ten times the 150-thousand vegetarians in 2008.
And with more people looking for food that's good for both the body and the environment, industry experts expect sales of plant-based meat substitutes to rapidly increase in the near future.