Unraveling the vegan status of a product like Incogmeato can be a complex task.
Often, manufacturers obfuscate the nature and origins of their ingredients, making it harder for consumers to make informed choices.
This article is here to decipher the truth and support you in your vegan lifestyle journey.
Is Incogmeato Vegan?
No, Incogmeato, produced by Morningstar Farms, is not entirely vegan.
The reason why Incogmeato doesn’t meet vegan standards fully is due to one specific ingredient: natural flavors. Natural flavors can come from both plant and animal sources, and unless specified by the manufacturer, it’s impossible to discern which it is.
Is Incogmeato Cruelty-Free?
Although not entirely vegan, Incogmeato is largely considered to be cruelty-free. The reason for this lies in the ingredients used, all of which are sourced without causing harm or distress to animals directly.
What is Incogmeato Made of?
Incogmeato is a line of plant-based meat substitutes developed by MorningStar Farms, a division of the Kellogg Company.
These innovative products were designed to mimic the taste, texture, and nutritional profile of traditional meats, appealing to both vegans and meat-eaters looking for alternative protein sources.
But what exactly goes into making Incogmeato?
The primary ingredients of Incogmeato products include:
- Soy protein concentrate
- Canola oil
- Natural flavors
- Yeast extract
- Potassium chloride
- Vitamin B1
- Pyridoxine hydrochloride
- Vitamin B12
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein concentrate is a high-quality plant protein derived from soybeans. It plays a crucial role in the product as it replicates the texture and protein content of traditional meats. It’s completely vegan because it’s sourced from plants.
Canola oil is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant, a type of rapeseed. It serves as a source of fat in the product, providing the juiciness and mouthfeel associated with traditional meat products. This ingredient is vegan since it’s plant-derived.
Natural flavors are used to help mimic the taste of the meat that the product is imitating. The source of these flavors can vary and may come from both plant and animal origins. However, in the case of Incogmeato, all the natural flavors used are derived from plants, thus maintaining the vegan status of the product.
Yeast extract is a flavor enhancer derived from yeast. It helps bring out the savory “umami” flavor in the product, providing the taste complexity associated with meat. Yeast extract is vegan, as yeast is a type of fungus and not derived from animals.
Salt is used as a flavor enhancer. It’s a mineral compound composed mainly of sodium chloride and is naturally vegan.
Potassium Chloride is a type of salt used as a flavor enhancer and a source of the mineral potassium. It is vegan because it’s not derived from animals but from the earth.
Also known as thiamine, Vitamin B1 is added to enrich the product nutritionally. Thiamine can come from various sources, but the version used in Incogmeato is synthetically produced, making it vegan.
Iron is a vital mineral added for nutritional enhancement. The type of iron used in Incogmeato is known as elemental iron, which is synthetically made and vegan.
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is added to improve the nutritional profile of the product. Like other vitamins used in Incogmeato, niacinamide is synthetically produced and is vegan.
This is the scientific name for vitamin B6. It’s included in Incogmeato to enrich the nutritional content of the product. Pyridoxine hydrochloride is synthetically produced and is vegan.
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is another nutrient added to Incogmeato. While riboflavin can be sourced from both plant and animal origins, the riboflavin used in Incogmeato is synthetically made and is vegan.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is often added to vegan and vegetarian foods because it is generally found in animal products. The B12 used in Incogmeato is synthesized in a lab, which makes it vegan.
Vegan Alternatives to Incogmeato
If you’re looking for fully vegan alternatives to Incogmeato, there are many options available:
- Impossible Foods: Known for their Impossible Burger, this company offers plant-based burger patties that have been confirmed to be completely vegan.
- Beyond Meat: Their Beyond Burger is another fully vegan option in the realm of fake meat.
- Gardein: This company offers a wide range of plant-based protein alternatives that are vegan, including burger patties and even Chik’n Nuggets.
- Homemade options: With ingredients like beans, lentils, and vegetables, you can make your own vegan patties at home.
While Incogmeato, the plant-based burger from Morningstar Farms, has made strides toward offering a more sustainable, plant-based alternative, it falls short of being a fully vegan product due to the use of unspecified natural flavors.
However, it is generally considered to be cruelty-free. For those looking for entirely vegan alternatives, products from Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Gardein, or even homemade recipes using various brands may be the way to go.
As conscious consumers, it’s vital that we continue to scrutinize our food choices and their impact on the planet and all who inhabit it.