What Are Plant-Based Meats?

Veganism and our sustainable future

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I have a friend who has an interest in vegetarianism and veganism but he really loves salami and other lunch meats. ‘What am I going to do?”, he asked me.

May you are like him in that way. If so this story will likely help you make the shift to veganism.

Lunch meats also known as cold cuts, luncheon meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, cold meats, and deli meats — are precooked or cured meats that are sliced and served cold or hot. They are typically served in sandwiches or on a tray. They can be purchased pre-sliced, usually in vacuum packs, or they can be sliced to order. Sounds pretty simple. The problem with luncheon meats is they’re usually filled with hormones, antibiotics, artificial coloring, high sodium levels, and other stuff. Then there is the dead animal issue and environmental factors. Let’s say you have no problem eating dead animals. The beef and poultry industries are among the biggest polluters around.

Then there is the issue of what exactly the meat is in luncheon meats? Usually, it is a combination of animal ass, lips, nose, spleen, and only heaven knows what else?

Most pre-sliced lunch meats are higher in fat, nitrates, and sodium than those that are sliced to order, as a larger exposed surface requires stronger preservatives. As a result, processed meats may significantly contribute to the incidence of heart disease and diabetes, even more so than red meat.

A prospective study following 448,568 people across Europe, showed a positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality caused by cardiovascular disease and cancer. Similarly, a prospective study in the US following half a million people flagged a similar association between death and increased processed meat consumption.

What is the solution if you really enjoy eating meat?

There are many plant-based sandwich meats available that have the approximate aesthetic qualities such as flavor, texture, appearance, or chemical characteristics of specific types of meat without the negative downsides.

Often known in the industry as mock meat, meat analog plant-based meat, vegan meat, meat substitute, mock meat, meat alternative, imitation meat, vegetarian meat, fake meat, or faux meat. Meat analogs typically are made from vegetarian ingredients, and sometimes without any animal products such as dairy. Many analogs are soy-based (e.g. tofu, tempeh,) gluten-based, or made from pea protein.

Because of their similarity to meats, they are frequently used in dishes and food practices similar to meat.


Increasingly, the global demand for sustainable diets in response to the outsized role animal products play in global warming has seen an increase in industries focused on finding substitutes similar to meat. However, the motivation for seeking out mock meats tends to vary depending on consumer group. The market for meat alternatives is highly dependent on those motivated by health consciousness and weight management and those more likely to endorse concerns regarding animal welfare and/or environmentalism as primary motivators.

From the 2010s to the present, owing to concern over global warming and human population size, and major investments by various companies, there was an increase in awareness and the market size for meat analogs in Western and Westernized markets.

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Author — Lewis Harrison is an award-winning writer and Wellness Coach. Learn more about his work at AskLewis.com

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I offer advice on the arts, innovation, self-improvement, life lessons, mental health, game theory strategies, and love.

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