Simon, alongside Chef Shannon Martinez from Smith & Daughters and Dr Damian Frank, the Head of Flavour and Design at Love Buds, took center stage in a plant-based meat segment on Ch7’s The House of Wellness. Here is a transcription of what Simon talked about, starting with who is interested in alternative proteins:
We’re predominantly seeing interest, for health reasons, from the older population who are well aware now of the implications of diet on health-related diseases, whether it’s type 2 diabetes, or whether it’s stroke, heart attack, or whatever. We’re also seeing the younger generation, who are more interested in novel foods, they’re far more interested in environmental issues and so they are beginning to recognise the relationship between food and those issues.
We know that agriculture contributes over 26% of total greenhouse gas emissions, and we also know that even if we eliminated greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuel industry, we would still not meet our targets of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. So, animal agriculture is something we must address, and it’s easily addressable, more so than any other sector.
What do you think are the barriers to wider adoption of plant-based meats in Australia?
Look, I think it comes down to taste and value for money. Certainly, in the early days, a lot of promises were made around plant-based meats that you would get the same experience that you were getting from other food choices. And I think people were disappointed, but I think that’s improving.
One of the concerns raised about plant-based meats is about how processed they are. Do you think this is a valid concern?
I think we’re right to be concerned about things like ultra-processing and a great deal of our food, particularly discretionary foods, are ultra-processed foods.
But if you compare a plant-based meat burger with a meat burger, if you compare a plant-based meat sausage or meatball or schnitzel with its alternative, then generally, across the five key dimensions that we talk about in nutrition, the plant-based meat product comes out more favourably.
First, it generally has a higher quantity of protein. Second, it has fewer calories, and it has fewer calories typically because it doesn’t have any saturated fat. If it does have fat, then it will have good fats like omega-3 oils. Sodium generally is slightly lower, although they’re possibly the same, but finally, the plant-based meat product has fibre. Meat does not have any fibre and we now know how important fibre is in our diet.
You can catch the whole segment featuring Smith & Daughters and Love Buds here.