Often unbalanced: vegan meat substitutes


Vegan meat substitutes are becoming increasingly popular. But vegan does not necessarily mean healthy - and not necessarily honest either. This is shown by the foodwatch market check on Veganuary.

Bacon, meatballs, chicken burgers - there is almost nothing that is not available on the market for vegan meat substitutes. No wonder: more and more people want to completely or partially avoid animal products for health reasons or to protect the climate and environment. But meat-style plant-based foods are not always healthy. This is shown by a foodwatch market check with 15 popular vegan products.

Substitute products in the Nutri-Score check

In order to assess the health value, foodwatch calculated the Nutri-Scores for all products. The result: only two of the 15 meat substitutes received a green nutritional score. In contrast, more than half received a rather poor Nutri-Score rating, an orange D or a red E. The majority of vegan foods contain a range of additives and are highly processed.

The products in the market check:

  • Veggie Hack (Endori), 200g, €2.99, bought at Rewe, Nutri-Score: A
  • Like Chicken (Like Meat), 180g, €3.19, bought at Rewe, Nutri-Score: A
  • Like Chicken Burger (Like Meat), 180g, €2.99, bought at Rewe, Nutri-Score: C
  • The wonderchunks Dönerstyle (My veggie Tag), 185g, €2.99, bought at Aldi Nord, Nutri-Score : C
  • Beyond Nuggets (Beyond Meat), 200g, €3.99, bought at Kaufland, Nutri-Score : C
  • Vegan ham Spicker Mortadella (Rügenwalder Mühle), 80g, €1.59 bought at Rewe, Nutri-Score: C
  • Vegan salami classic (Rügenwalder Mühle), 80g, €1.59, bought at Rewe, Nutri-Score: D
  • Beyond Meat Burger, 226g, €3.99, bought at Rewe, Nutri-Score: D
  • The Vegan Cow spreadable sausage (organic), 150g, €3.99, purchased from Bio Company, Nutri-Score : D
  • Vegan Schnitzel Cheesy Style (Vemondo), 200g, €2.49, bought at Lidl, Nutri-Score: D
  • Vegan bacon (Billie Green), 90g, €1.99, bought at Rewe, Nutri-Score: D
  • Meat salad (my veggie), 200g, €0.99, bought at Edeka, Nutri-Score : D
  • Vegan mini frika (Greenforce), 180g, €2.99, bought at Rewe, Nutri-Score : D
  • Vegan Virginia steak (Wheaty) (organic), 175g, €4.39, bought at Denn's, Nutri-Score: E
  • Snack Salami Style (Billie Green), 75g, €2.49, bought at Edeka, Nutri-Score: E

Also available vegan: misleading

There is also trickery with vegan products: Rügenwalder Mühle, for example, advertises the vegan Schinken Spicker Mortadella on the front with the statement "Based on sunflower seeds". However, a glance at the list of ingredients on the back of the packaging reveals that it should actually read "Based on bamboo fibers", as the vegan sausage contains just two percent sunflower protein.

The wide range of vegan foods on offer is good for anyone who wants to eat in a more climate- and animal-friendly way. But beware: vegan does not automatically mean honest, even animal-free foods are tricked and deceived. Rauna Bindewald foodwatch

A growing market

Since 2014, an organization called Veganuary has been promoting a vegan diet in January and beyond. Numerous German retailers are taking part in the campaign. No wonder: after all, this is a growing, lucrative market that everyone wants to cash in on. According to the German Federal Ministry of Food's 2023 Nutrition Report, the proportion of people who choose vegetarian or vegan alternatives to animal products every day is steadily increasing. While this figure was five percent of consumers in Germany in 2020, it rose to ten percent in 2023. Reasons such as curiosity, climate and environmental protection, animal welfare and taste play a prominent role for most respondents when buying vegan substitute products. However, 48% of respondents also stated that they bought the products because they were healthy.

In an overview report, the World Health Organization calls for "further research" "to investigate the as yet unknown health effects of food additives and by-products resulting from the industrial processing of such plant-based 'meats'."

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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