The following post was written by Heinen’s partner Alex Miles.
Hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, chicken, pulled pork and steaks – no summer barbeque (BBQ) is complete without everyone’s favorite meats. After a warm day in the sun, the best way to relax is kicking back with an icy beverage and digging into a plate full of grilled-to-perfection meats, corn on the cob and potato salad.
With that said, it’s apparent that traditional BBQ menus are changing. In recent years, more people are turning away from traditional meats and embracing plant-based options, as evidenced by a 2018 Nielsen survey. In fact, 39% of Americans prefer a plant-based diet for the ample health, nutritional and environmental benefits. However, they’re looking beyond meatless staples such as brown rice, quinoa and steamed veggies to indulge their appetites. Why shouldn’t they enjoy the satisfaction of biting into their favorite charred items like everyone else?
Fortunately, many food and grocery store brands, like Heinen’s, are serving up plant-based alternatives that deliver the flavors, textures and appearance of people’s favorite grilled proteins.
Meeting Everyone’s Meat(less) Needs
You may be surprised to learn that Heinen’s got its start in the meat industry. Founder Joe Heinen opened a butcher shop in 1929 with the goal of providing customers with the highest quality and assortment of meats. While he may not have imagined a world where plant-based meats exist, let alone become as popular as they have, he’d be proud to know how his company stepped up to give people alternatives that align with their dietary needs. Although Heinen’s will always carry the traditional butcher staples, each store’s Meat Department also offers an array of high quality, plant-based options.
If you’re someone who is trying to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet — or you’re grilling for someone who is — let this list of plant-based brands – Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat and Cleveland Tofu – inspire your summer BBQ menu.
1. Impossible Foods
“What makes meat taste like meat?”
This is the simple question asked by Stanford University Professor Dr. Patrick Brown and fellow scientists who wanted to address the urgent issue of climate change. They knew that animal agriculture utilized a significant amount of natural resources, so that’s where they started. Together, they analyzed meat at the molecular level to understand why it looks, cooks and tastes the way that it does. From there, they developed research and technology to recreate the entire sensory experience of meat using plants. In 2016, the first ever Impossible™ Burger hit the market and, as they say, the rest is history.
In addition to the revolutionary Impossible Burger, which can be used for burgers, tacos, sliders, lasagna and more, the company launched an array of meat-like products. Impossible™ Sausage comes in in Links, Patties and Ground Sausage with multiple flavors of each. Perfect to be enjoyed in a bun, in burritos, breakfast sandwiches, casseroles and more. If you’re looking for an easy meal for the kids with zero prep work, Impossible™ Chicken Nuggets may be just what the chef ordered this summer.
One of the best things about Impossible Foods is that the brand truly cares about lowering its environmental footprint – and helping food lovers do the same. When you visit the company website, you can use an environmental impact calculator to understand how you can reduce your own carbon footprint when consuming Impossible products.
2. Beyond Meat
BEYOND MEAT® is on a mission to create delicious, nutritious, sustainable protein so that people can eat more of what they love, no sacrifice required. By shifting from animal to plant-based meat, we can positively affect the planet, the environment, the climate and even ourselves.
This summer, Beyond is fighting climate change one delicious bite at a time. A peer-reviewed Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) conducted by the University of Michigan compared the environmental impact of the original Beyond Burger to a ¼ lb. U.S. beef burger. The result? Producing a Beyond Burger uses significantly less water, land and energy – and it generates fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGE) than a beef burger.
The Beyond Burger looks, grills and tastes just like traditional beef but it comes with all the amazing upsides of a plant-based protein: no soy, no GMOs, no gluten, no cholesterol and no added antibiotics.
3. Cleveland Tofu
Locally-owned and operated Cleveland Tofu was founded in 1976 at a time when tofu was just becoming popular in the U.S. While the company’s ownership has changed over the last four decades, the quality of the brand’s hand-made tofu has always stayed consistent.
Using plant-based soybeans, Cleveland Tofu is made by soaking, grinding and cooking the beans into soymilk. After being mixed with other ingredients, the tofu is cut by hand into blocks and packed into containers. Not only is the tofu low in fat, but it contains zero cholesterol or preservatives. Even better, all soybeans are locally grown and processed in Ohio by growers who follow the most rigid quality standards.
While you can certainly enjoy tofu plain, straight out of the container, many customers opt to grill, bake, steam or fry it before adding it to salads, casseroles, etc. If you’re planning to grill some up at your next BBQ, you can try marinating the tofu beforehand for some extra flavor.
It’s All About Options
Whether you’re going all-in on a plant-based diet, giving it a try or want to make sure all of your guests are happy and well fed, these meatless brands are great additions to consider throughout grilling season – and beyond. Plus, you might be surprised at how many meat-eaters try your plant-based options, too!