New vegetarian options soon coming to grocery stores, fast food chains

Local News

(WKBN) – Tyson announced that they would be rolling out their own vegetarian meat substitute this summer.

This comes after they pulled their stake in the Beyond Meat brand a few years ago. Plant-based protein is catching on in stores and consumers will soon be able to get it from fast food chains.

“From my understanding of what I’ve heard, it’s a healthier and it tastes a lot like regular burgers,” said local resident Renee Angellili.

There are many meatless brands out there, and they have their pros and cons. 

Some contain just vegetables, while others have fillers, bread and soy. Sodium and fat content can be high in these foods.

“When it has a lot of bread or fillers, I can’t have that because I have celiac so for me, when people think vegan is so much more healthy, it’s just a matter of your preference,” said local resident Kelly Blacina.

Instead of assuming a food is healthier because it is labeled vegan or vegetarian, dieticians say you should know what the ingredients mean.

“When you take an impossible burger with a whole list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce and you’re not exactly sure what it is versus, say, a grass-fed lean beef burger with one ingredient of beef, it’s pretty clear to see which is healthier,” said local resident Laura Zavadil.

Some plant burgers look like meat, taste like meat and even have the bloody texture of meat. One way manufacturers do this by using beet juice. Another way is with engineering. 

“They’re taking a part of soy protein and they’re genetically modifying it to have that red, juicy look to it,” Zavadil said.

Zavadil said while innovative, one concern is that there is not enough research on this because it is so new. 

She said like many foods, meat or meatless, it’s safest with moderation.

“I think it’s fine every once in a while,” Zavadil said.

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