New meat alternative trend tempting more than just vegetarians

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Move over veggie burgers, new meat-tasting alternative proteins have hit the market, and they're even tempting carnivores (KFSN)

Move over veggie burgers, new meat-tasting alternative proteins have hit the market, and they're even tempting carnivores. But do they pass the taste test? And what about the nutrition factor?

"From chicken to ground turkey to fish to beef," shopper Caitlin Young said.

Young likes her meat but was thrilled when new veggie proteins hit the market.

"With the new protein alternative, it just gives me a nice balance," she said. "It gives me something new and different."

Brands are popping up in stores and even restaurants - one even uses beets to simulate the red appearance in beef. Another brand harnessed the iron found in meat to replicate the unique sizzle, smell and taste you usually get from animal protein.

Caitlin sees the difference.

"More traditional veggie burgers tend to be a little flat, a little dry; they don't really have that much flavor," she said.

Food analyst Jeff Landsman says both millennials and boomers are fueling the trend, and it's not just carnivores trying the new mock meats.

"One of the good things about this product is that vegetarians can experience meat and burgers without having to give up their vegetarian beliefs," he said.

There is also a chicken option. Nutritionists say while some of the new plant proteins contain soy and wheat, there's another protein that's popping.

"These days, pea protein is booming," he exclaimed. "It's really becoming the new, hot vegan protein source."

Food experts say they sometimes have less saturated fat than traditional meat and also tend to be GMO, cholesterol and gluten-free.

"It doesn't come with the sensitivities that the formerly gluten filled and the soy filled had," nutritionist Alyssa Cellini explained. "Also, they tend to have less preservatives and dyes in them."

Caitlin says she won't give up traditional meat but loves her imposters, too.

"They just taste so delicious," she said.

In addition to nutrition, companies say their desire is to have less of an impact on climate change and respect animal welfare. Some studies show the alternative proteins could mean fewer emissions and reduced greenhouse gasses than traditional meat.
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