A meat analogue, also called a meat substitute, mock meat, imitation meat, or veat, approximates the aesthetic qualities (primarily texture, flavor, and appearance) and/or chemical characteristics of certain types of meat.
Generally, meat analogue is understood to mean a food made from non-meats, sometimes without dairy products. The market for meat-less foods includes vegetarians, vegans, non-vegetarians seeking to reduce their meat consumption for health or ethical reasons, non-vegetarians who enjoy the taste of certain meat analogues, and persons following rules of Kashrut. Buddhist cuisine features the oldest known use of meat analogues.
Meat analogue may also refer to a meat-based, healthier and/or less-expensive alternative to a particular meat product, such as surimi.
Vegetarian meat, dairy, and egg analogues
Some vegetarian meat analogues are based on centuries-old recipes for seitan (wheat gluten), rice, mushrooms, legumes, tempeh, or pressed-tofu, with flavoring added to make the finished product taste like chicken, beef, lamb, ham, sausage, seafood, etc. Some more recent meat analogues include textured vegetable protein (TVP), which is a dry bulk commodity derived from soy, soy concentrate, mycoprotein-based Quorn, and modified defatted peanut flour. In most Western nations, TVP is produced more than any other meat analogue.
Dairy analogues may be composed of processed rice, soy (tofu, soymilk, soy protein isolate), almond, cashew, gluten (such as with the first non-dairy creamers), nutritional yeast, or a combination of these, as well as flavoring to make it taste like milk, cheeses, yogurt, mayonnaise, ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream, whipped cream, buttermilk, rarebit, or butter. Many dairy analogues contain casein, which is extracted dried milk proteins, making them unsuitable for vegans.
Egg substitutes may be composed tofu, tapioca starch, or similar products that recreate the leavening and binding effects of eggs in baked goods. Many people use fruit products such as banana paste and applesauce as egg analogues in baking.
Surimi and similar meat-based meat analogues
Surimi, a processed hash of fish plus flavorings, is used to make products such as imitation crab meat. In some regions, "surimi" refers only to products made from fish, but elsewhere may refer to other products (e.g., turkey dogs produced from turkey in North America), which are then also called "surimi".
Examples of surimi include:
- Surimi from fish, such as imitation crab, imitation shrimp, or imitation lobster
- Surimi from turkey, such as hot dogs, brats, sausage, salami, lunch meats, loafs, burgers, bacon, ham, or ground
- Other processed poultry products, such as emu, in the same forms described above for turkey.
- Business statistics - sales of imitation meat and vegetarian products
- Research Market: vegetarian profits
- Soyfoods Assoc. of N. America
- Meat-analogues on "FutureFood - Meat without livestock"