What are Plant-based Meat Substitutes?

These are foods derived from plants without the inclusion of any animal ingredients. This dietary approach emphasises the use of fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds as the main source of food. Plant-based diets can include varying degrees of reduction of animal products, from flexitarian diets, which temporarily include small portions of animal foods, to strict vegan diets, which exclude all animal products.

Fun Fact About Plant-Based Foods

Did you know that the first plant-based burger was created in 1982? It was a tofu burger and the main ingredient was tofu (a soya protein product). Since then, choices of plant-based foods have improved considerably. Modern innovations are used to recreate the taste, texture and appearance of meat products using ingredients such as soya, peas, mushrooms and even beetroot juice, giving an unexpected “bleeding” effect to some products. These advances make plant-based alternatives more accessible and attractive to a wider range of consumers.

Benefits for consumers

Key benefits of plant-based products:



A plant-based diet is usually rich with vitamins, minerals and fibre, while it is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than a traditional animal-based diet. Studies show that increased consumption of plant-based products can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.


Environmental sustainability

The production of this food is generally less resource-intensive and produces fewer greenhouse gases than livestock farming. By choosing plant-based products, consumers can contribute to preserving land, water and biodiversity, as well as reducing the impact of climate change.


Ethical aspects

Plant-based diets are consistent with ethical animal welfare concerns. By choosing a plant-based diet, consumers can make a positive impact by reducing the demand for animal products.

Quality of Plant-based Products in the EU:

Plant-based products produced within the European Union (EU) are strictly regulated for quality and safety. The EU ensures that plant-based foods meet a specific standard, including ingredient labelling, allergen control and hygiene requirements. In addition, the EU has strict provisions to monitor and regulate food additives and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This legislation aims to ensure that consumers have access to safe, transparent and accurately labelled plant-based food choices.

Producers of plant-based foods in the EU often focus on sustainable and ethical practices, taking into account factors such as responsible sourcing of ingredients, reduced environmental impact and fair working conditions throughout the supply chain. Consumers can rely on the quality and reliability of plant-based foods because they meet strict standards that are important for consumer well-being and sustainability.

Funded by the European Union. However, the views or opinions expressed are those of the author(s) alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
For guidelines on a balanced, healthy diet, visit the website of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania.