Almost two-thirds of the British now choose to eat meat substitutes, up from half two years ago, research shows.

And supermarkets are catching up and delivering: almost one in four new food products at supermarket shelves last year was vegan, according to consumer research firm Mintel.

And it seems that the real goal is to produce a meat alternative that is so close to the real thing in taste and texture, to appeal to those who have given up meat or their intake for health and environmental reasons have diminished, but still the taste and appearance of meat.

However, people who eat a vegan diet can risk themselves from certain deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 – needed for normal nerve function – and strenuous iron and zinc, important for fertility.

Almost two-thirds of British people now choose to eat meat substitutes, up from half a year ago, research shows

To make sure they get enough of these nutrients, those who eat a vegan diet recommend taking fortified foods as supplements. Some of & # 39; the new vegan & # 39; meats & # 39; are fortified and designed to imitate the real thing: from fake steaks and sausages, to meatballs and burgers.

So how do the new products compare to their meaty counterparts?

We asked dietician Helen Bond to analyze a selection. We then praised them and chose a winner.

SAUSAGE MEAT

Moving Mountains worst burgers, grandfather of two, £ 4.50, sainsburys.co.uk

Per 100g: Calories, 250; saturated fat, 10g; protein, 11g; salt, 1.6 g

EXPERT VERDICT: On the plus side, the plant proteins and oats make this a good source of fiber, good for intestinal health. You would get 23 percent of your daily amount in a deposit. In contrast, pork sausage meat has only a trace of fiber.

There are three types of protein here – peas, wheat and soy – plus mushrooms, which together are said to replicate the porky taste and texture of sausage meat, and one of these will certainly help you get on to fill, with almost a quarter of your daily egg white needs – not much less than the same size of pork of pork sauce.

Coconut oil is added to give a greasy, satisfying consistency, but this means the patties have about 88 percent more saturated fat – bad for heart health – than a pork sausage. They are also 10 percent higher in salt.

TASTE TEST: Good, though salty, taste.

HEALTH WINNER: Meat

RASHERS

This isn't bacon rashers, 120g, £ 3.19, ocado.com

Per 100g: Calories, 137; saturated fat, 0.1 g; protein, 25.4g; salt, 2g

EXPERT VERDICT: This vegan & # 39; bacon & # 39; is made with flavored soy and pea proteins, turnip oil and extracts of vegetable and paprika (the last to give the rashers a pink color like the real thing).

These have a fraction of the calories and saturated fat you would get in regular grilled rashers: with 66 calories compared to 144, and 0.2g of saturated fat compared to 4g in a 50g serving. The plantation rashers are lower in salt and free of nitrite – preservatives added to processed meats that aren't linked to colon cancer.

Helpfully, they are fortified with vitamin B12 and iron, which will help prevent deficiencies – in fact, the iron content is much higher than bacon and even higher, gram for gram, then junk.

TASTE TEST: Like bacon – you would never know the difference.

HEALTH WINNER: Plants

STEAK

Vivera plant steak, two, £ 3.50, sainsburys.co.uk

Per 100g: Calories, 195; saturated fat, 4.7 g; protein, 18g; salt, 1.3 g

EXPERT VERDICT: These chunky & # 39; steaks & # 39; are made from dry soy and wheat proteins that are not rehydrated to create texture.

On the plus side, one steak delivers 15 percent of your daily fiber through the soy protein and added vegetable fiber, and is enhanced with iron and vitamin B12, which we need for healthy blood and nervous systems.

In general, they have less protein than the real thing, but are still rich in & # 39; e muscle building nutrients, with about a third of our daily needs in one serving. The maker has added beetroot to make it pink like a steak; but the coconut oil used to mimic the succulence of steak makes them high in saturated fat – linked to high cholesterol – with about the same as a similar serving of jam.

There is also a significantly higher salt content in the vegan version compared to the meat steak.

TASTE TEST: Spongy and hot.

HEALTH WINNER: Meat

NUGGETS

Quorn vegan nuggets, 280g, £ 2.50, most supermarkets.

Per 100g: Calories, 204; saturated fat, 0.3 g; protein, 12.3 g; salt, 1.5g

EXPERT VERDICT: Made with Quorn – edible molds – formed into nuggets, these have the same crispy coating that you won't find on a standard chicken nugget. Quorn is a good source of fiber – that's a quarter of your daily needs per serving with three nuggets – and high-quality protein, with all the essential amino acids that don't help in tissue repair.

They also have only one eighth of the saturated fat of chicken nuggets. To the disadvantage, the plant-based nuggets have 2.6 times more salt than chicken breast versions, with a storage, providing 15 percent of your daily limit of this compound, which is linked to high blood pressure .

This is thanks to the extra herbs needed to make plant proteins less palatable.

TASTE TEST: Nice, crisp coating but very dry from the inside.

HEALTH WINNER: Plants

JERKY

Plantifull Food bbq mushrooms funny, 30g, £ 2.49, ocado.com

Per 100g: Calories, 272; saturated fat, 0.4 g; protein, 43.1 g; salt, 2.4 g

EXPERT VERDICT: Made with wheat protein and mushrooms that are not marinated and dehydrated, these vegan ants treat meaty foods. The plant version is marginally lower in saturated fat and has 12.9g of protein per 30g serving – about a quarter of your daily needs, which is similar to the amount in carbohydrates. They are also equal in terms of unhealthy calories, salt and sugar levels – with 12 percent of your daily salt limit and more than a teaspoon of sugar per pack.

TASTE TEST: A little mushy, strong mushroom flavor.

HEALTH WINNER: Draw

BURGERS

Plant pioneers plant burgers, package of two, £ 2, sainsburys.co.uk

Per 100g: Calories, 213; saturated fat, 1.9 g; protein, 16.2 g; salt, 1.2 g

EXPERT VERDICT: The label says these are made from rehydrated texture soy protein – usually made by passing a paste of soy flour, water and salt under pressure through a device to create a meat-like texture. The soy provides a decent amount of protein that is needed to repair and renew muscles, and is also thought to help lower & # 39; mine & # 39; cholesterol. Along with just 1.9g of saturated fat per burger (versus a hefty 6.6g in meat version), these are overall a more heart-friendly proposition. But as with many meat substitutes, look at the salt.

TASTE TEST: Succulent, with a convincing texture.

HEALTH WINNER: Plants

WHAT ABOUT GREGG'S VEGAN STEAK BAKE

Per 100g: Calories, 258; saturated fat, 8.1 g; protein, 6.4 g; salt, 1.2 g

EXPERT VERDICT: The vegan version – with a rich gravy, onions and puff pastry, but Quorn instead of meatloaf – had rave reviews, with many tasters saying that they loved it as much as the classic meat. But while the vegan version may be friendlier to animals and the environment, it's just a little more waistline-friendly (380 calories vs 408 calories), with less boiling protein (9.5 vs 14g) and a very similar amount of saturated fat – 55 per cent of your daily limit.

The vegan slice is also salty, with 30 percent of your daily limit, compared to 23 percent in & # 39; meat version.

TASTE TEST: Good juice taste, but the & # 39; meat & # 39; mist texture.

HEALTH WINNER: Meat

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