‘Right now, the plant-based category is pretty murky’: Eatplanted challenges perceptions about plant-based quality with Gizzi Erskine tie-up
As part of the collaboration, a ‘Plantstronomy’ cooking event was staged last week at Leiths School of Food and Wine, where Eriskine cooked using Eatplanted plant-based chicken and pulled pork.
“We see this as our opportunity to demonstrate to people that plant-based products can be elevated to the gastronomic status people have for so long assumed only meat can have,” Olivia Sinclair, UK Marketing Manager at Eatplanted, told FoodNavigator.
‘You really don’t compromise’
Eatplanted positions itself as a ‘protein company’ that delivers products of ‘the highest standards’, Sinclair explained. “We are striving to be better than meat in a number of ways: tasting, for your health, for the planet and animals.”
Erskine, who has been vocal about sustainable eating since launching her cookbook ‘Restore: A Modern Guide to Sustainable Eating’, agreed that Eatplanted delivers benefits linked to health, animal welfare and a lower environmental impact ‘without compromise’. In particular, the English celebrity cook noted, this contrasts to some other meat alternatives that she characterised as not sustainable and ‘full of fillers and additives’.
“Eatplanted is perfect to use as the five ingredient products and insane protein levels means you really don’t compromise with meat-free dishes and it's a sustainable source of protein. Using Eatplanted as the meat alternative has meant game changing taste to my favourite dishes,” Erskine noted.
Eatplanted has pioneered a novel bio structuring approach that combines protein structuring and biotechnology. Using various proprietary technologies, Eatplanted designs and structures alternative proteins using only 'clean and natural ingredients' and no additives.
“We are super proud of our short and clean ingredient list, plus our taste and texture speaks for us when it comes to convincing people that we’re the right brand out there to help them swap into a flexitarian diet,” Sinclair elaborated.
'Quality and versatility’ for Michelin star chefs and home cooks alike
Eatplanted’s Michelin star executive chef, Francois Poulain, said the Plantstronomy event ‘encapsulates exactly what Eatplanted is all about’, underlining the company’s commitment to ‘top quality products, and the simple art and science of plant based, good eating’.
The company also works alongside other well known chefs, including ‘brilliant’ brand ambassador Tim Raue in Germany. This ‘demonstrates that our products have all the quality and versatility to be used in Michelin starred restaurants, as well as in homes’, Sinclair told this publication.
Eatplanted does not differentiate between producing a product for a chef and one for retail channels, she continued. “Our goal is to create the highest quality product possible – and make it accessible for everyone – both chefs and consumers. Working with chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants means our high standards are baked in from the beginning of the innovation process.”
So, how do Eatplanted products meet the needs of high-end chefs and home cooks alike?
“Eatplanted products are as similar to meat as possible, by having a super clean and short ingredient list, with nothing overly manufactured, no additives whatsoever, and having a texture and taste that creates a really enjoyable dish. Plus, our chicken and pulled products can come without marinades, allowing chefs to add them to their own dishes and prepare them exactly how they like with their specific seasoning, spices or sauces.”
Plant-based analogues offer familiar dishes ‘with a twist’
Eatplanted believes it is important to improve the culinary reputation of plant-based products ‘for a number of reasons’. For the health of people and planet, the company believes it is ‘essential’ to ‘make that switch’ toward plant-based diets. However, Sinclair explained, ‘people don’t want to compromise’
“We have created a range of products that mean people don’t miss out on the tastes and textures, recipes and flavours that they’ve grown up with and love, but rather our products mean that by swapping our one ingredient, you’re doing right by yourself, the planet and the future, all without compromise.”
However, she acknowledged: “Right now, the plant-based category is pretty murky – and additives and unnatural ingredients in other brands’ products can undo the health benefits a more plant-based diet can bring. Getting consumers on board with our mission of clean and heathy ingredients for clean and healthy diets is the most sustainable action we can all take, and we would ask all consumers to raise their standards and check out the ingredients lists of what they’re buying, to know what’s in there.
“We are keen to demonstrate that a plant based diet doesn’t mean missing out or getting a ‘worse’ product when going for a nice meal out – we want to show that high quality plant-based products are on par, if not better than, meat, and that’s how we will see long term change that’s better for all of us.”
If Eatplanted backs a cleaner, simpler, approach to plant-based eating, why not just cook with plants?
“Lots of reasons,” Sinclair responded. “To show adaptability to a new way of cooking that the direction the overall future of food is going in; to try a new ingredient/range/protein; to recreate famous dishes but make them plant-based; and to remove the saturated fat out of some well-loved meats,” she detailed, adding that Eatplanted’s pulled pork analogue has around 80% less saturated fat than pork.
“What’s more, we want to be able to give consumers a dish they recognise but with a twist. Lastly, to be able to show how to cook, season, flavour and serve the dish, with as little tweaking as possible, except the substituting,” she concluded.
What was cooking at Plantstronomy?
Cooking for the Plantstronomy event, Erskine created two dishes using the pork and chicken analogue products: Eatplanted chicken tacos with pink pickled onions, blackened pineapple, avocado pico and corn tortillas; and Thai crispy mock duck and watermelon salad. She was also be joined by drinks expert and founder of the Dalston Wine Club, Hannah Crosbie, who paired drinks with Erskine’s dishes.
This promotional partnership with Erskine comes after Eatplanted secured its first UK grocery listing in organic supermarket chain Planet Organic last month and in David Lloyd’s health and leisure group earlier this year. Eat Planted will also launch a dish on vegan restaurant Mildred’s summer menu.