The vegan movement has been rapidly gaining traction, driven by concerns around animal welfare, the environment, and individual health. But critics often question the taste and nutritional adequacy of vegan diets. Kristina Vervoorst, marketing manager at Ohly, a global leader in specialty yeast-based ingredients, speaks on how these concerns can be addressed to make vegan diets more appealing and well-balanced.
The vegan lifestyle has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. A survey by Ipsos in 2018 estimated that approximately 3% of the global population identifies as vegan. The motivations for this lifestyle choice are diverse, ranging from health considerations to ethical and environmental concerns.
One of the major obstacles that vegan food producers face is delivering natural and nutritious options that also taste good. “Creating delicious vegan meals that are nutritionally well-rounded is not just possible but increasingly common,” Vervoorst says.
Herbs and spices are vital for adding dimension to vegan dishes. Ingredients like basil, thyme, parsley, and coriander can infuse meals with fresh, aromatic flavours. On the other hand, spices such as paprika, cumin, nutmeg, and cinnamon add richness and depth, even to desserts.
Beyond their culinary uses, many herbs and spices offer significant health benefits. For instance, cumin is rich in antioxidants, while parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K, crucial for bone health.
The method of cooking can substantially impact both the taste and nutrition of vegan dishes. Grilling introduces a smoky flavour, whereas roasting vegetables enhances their natural sweetness. Sautéing with onions and garlic can add layers of complexity. Steaming remains the go-to option for those keen on preserving micronutrients in their vegetables.
Paying attention to the seasonality of fruits and vegetables can also elevate the taste profile of your meals. A diverse diet that includes various legumes, grains, and plant-based foods can help achieve a nutritionally balanced vegan diet.
With companies like Ohly continually innovating in the realm of plant-based foods, the future of vegan diets looks promising. “We are committed to sustainable and delicious solutions for vegan cuisine,” Vervoorst adds.
The challenges of meeting taste and nutritional expectations in vegan diets are far from insurmountable. By incorporating a diverse range of plant-based foods, using an array of cooking techniques, and employing thoughtful seasoning, a satisfying and nutritious vegan lifestyle is well within reach.