Giving up meat is growing in popularity due to the huge amount of benefits that come from making the switch to a plant-based diet. Yet, as a whole, our country still fears that giving up meat automatically means developing a protein deficiency. Regardless that recent studies show we’re eating too much protein, the macro-nutrient still rules as the number one concern among most eaters today.

All plant-based eaters know it’s pretty easy to get plenty of protein in a vegan diet (considering almost every single food contains a little protein). However, the massive amount of advertising from the meat, dairy, and egg industry in our country has only fed the protein deficiency fear in others. Food companies with interest in animal protein profit have misinformed consumers that animal foods are the only way to achieve a healthy protein intake. In fact, the marketing messages have downright confused consumers on every single level as of how to take care of themselves on a plant-based diet, nutritionally speaking.

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The Rise of Plant-Based Protein

Thanks to younger generations having a peak and growing interest in meat and dairy alternatives, plant-based options are more than just a trend; they’re a growing need that’s given rise to the plant-based protein market. From non-dairy options to meat alternative products, along with eating more beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and vegetables, more is showing up on our plates than just a piece of chicken, steak, or cup of milk.

According to a survey study by Acosta Sales and Marketing, nearly one third of consumers purchased a meat alternative product. Younger consumers made up most of the purchases, while Baby Boomers and shoppers over 65 years old made up the rest.

Tofu seems to be the number one meat replacement choice among consumers, making up 21 one percent of purchases. Twelve percent of consumers chose TVP (texture vegetable protein, another soy-based product), and 10 percent chose tempeh as their meat replacement protein source. Seitan and Quorn were also purchased by consumers, but in much lower amounts, likely due to seitan containing gluten and Quorn being a much more processed option.

Why Protein Deficiency Isn’t A Concern

Even without meat alternative products, protein deficiency shouldn’t be a concern. Whole food choices such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, beans, legumes, greens, quinoa and other whole grains, and even vegetables all contain protein, with many being a complete protein source. They’re also very easy to combine together to make a protein-rich meal.  For more ways to incorporate plant-based protein into your diet and get enough nutrition while doing so, check out 10 Vegan Foods Packed With Protein and Busted! The Myth About ‘Incomplete Plant-Based Protein.

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Image Source: Gingery Maple Glazed Tempeh on Baby Greens Salad

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