What’s in Fake Meat Anyway?

What’s in Fake Meat Anyway?

Welcome back to Ask Giz, the fortnightly series where we take your reader-submitted questions from all over the tech world and try to answer them.

If you’d like to submit a question, feel free to on our official submissions page.

Today’s question comes from Jill in Coffs Harbour. Jill wants to know: What’s actually inside of fake meat?

Let’s get stuck into it.

What’s actually inside of fake meat?

Fake meat is designed to mimic the texture and flavour of meat, with the animal completely cut out of the equation (it’s a pun, but you get the point). To achieve this, the ingredients list of a fake burger patty, fake mince packet, or packet of fake chicken nuggets can be quite extensive.

Take Impossible’s burger patties, for example. These patties include wheat, soy, sunflower oil, coconut oil, Yeast Extract, and a range of other ingredients to mimic not just the flavour of meat, but the look, touch, and cooking experience of beef.

To achieve the colour-changing nature of beef in the process of cooking the patty, Impossible relies on things like Beetroot extract. To get a similar texture to beef, coconut oils and palm oils are used. Impossible’s bleeding burger relies on the additive soy leghemoglobin to pull off the effect.

Impossible is just one company, however. V2, on the other hand, relies on soy protein, vegetable oils, artificial flavouring, yeast extracts and thickening agents to produce meat-like products, like sausages.

You’ll also find that peas, soy, wheat protein, and mushrooms are popular ingredients in fake meats, as these can typically be used to best replicate the physical properties of meat.

You’re probably wondering if all of those ingredients indicate if fake meat is any healthier or less healthy than meat, and unfortunately, there’s no good answer to this at the moment. Some fake meats have been found to be lower in calories and saturated fat than counterparts made with meat. However, salt levels can be high in some products – almost six times higher in some, according to the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

This isn’t the case for all products (the higher salt level was unique to fake mince, and in fake sausages, salt content was found to be lower than in meat sausages), but it does go to show that it’s worth looking at the ingredients label of a product before buying it.

Real fake meat

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Ask Giz is a fortnightly series where we answer your questions, be it tech, science, gadget, health or gaming-related. This is a reader-involved series where we rely on Gizmodo Australia’s audience to submit questions. If you have a question for Giz, you can submit it here. Or check out the answer to our last Ask Giz: Is the Opera GX Browser Actually Any Good?

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