Field Roast Smoked Apple and Sage Plant-Based Sausage

overall Rating:

2.2

planets

Kai Douglas
7/27/2021
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After doing research for this review, I am impressed by the sustainability of these plant based sausages. Their ingredient list is short, 100% vegan, and easy to understand. The fake sausages are made mostly of potatoes and flour, and there are no synthetically produced ingredients. Field Roast is a carbon neutral, entirely plant-based company that is owned by Greenleaf and Maple Leaf Foods. In order for this product to earn a higher overall score, Field Roast could start using more organic ingredients. That being said, I understand that they have yet to make the switch to a fully organic product in order to keep prices low for consumers. Another thing Field Roast could improve is their transparency about how they have become carbon neutral and what other ways they are reducing their environmental footprint. I would love to see more details of their initiatives in water usage, electricity, and waste management on their website. Overall though, these sausages are very sustainable as far as food items go, and I would feel comfortable purchasing this product.

what it's made of:

2.3

This product has an impressively short ingredient list for a plant-based sausage. It is mostly made of water, vital wheat gluten, safflower oil, dried apples and Yukon gold potatoes. Vital wheat gluten contains more protein and less starch than unprocessed flour. Many have seen the viral videos of people rinsing a wheat flour-based dough to make vegan “chicken” and other foods with meat-like textures. Essentially the same process is exploited in creating vital wheat gluten. Of the main ingredients in this product, safflower oil is the one that presents the biggest problems in terms of sustainability because it requires a lot of water to produce. That being said, it is still almost guaranteed to be associated with lower carbon emissions and water usage than the production of meat for conventional sausages. Safflower oil is also generally better for the environment than other alternatives such as palm oil and sunflower oil, though more research is needed to address all the impacts of oil agriculture. The flavoring ingredients in this product are yeast extract, onion powder, barley malt extract, garlic, spices, sea salt, yeast, rubbed sage, and natural smoke flavor. I only took off points in this section for the non-recyclable plastic packaging the sausages are sold in. However, I appreciate that Field Roast has minimized how much material is used in the packaging.

how it's made:

1.1

As with many food products, there is not much information available about how these sausages are made. A seemingly archived version of Field Roast’s frequently asked questions page says that the sausages are made in small batches starting with dry ingredients and then moving to wet ingredients. Unfortunately this doesn’t tell us much about the sustainability of the manufacturing process and it may be outdated information. It would be great if Field Roast could provide a little more information to consumers about their production process. Another issue with how these sausages are made is that their ingredients are not organic. This means the production of the raw ingredients used for this item, such as the potatoes and apples, could lead to soil and water degradation. Field Roast does address this issue on their website, saying that they do not produce organic foods because it would force them to raise prices and make their products less accessible. I definitely understand their dilemma of trying to balance sustainability and accessibility. I also believe it is important to have plant-based meat alternatives that many people can afford, so I’ve only taken off a few points in this section.

who makes it:

2.5

Field Roast is a carbon neutral, all vegan food brand that produces fake sausages and cheeses. They have achieved carbon neutrality by reducing their emissions as much as possible and from there investing in projects that will offset their remaining carbon output. Even though they have achieved carbon neutral status, Field Roast continues to try to reduce their planetary impact. By 2030 they hope to find ways to reduce their carbon output by another 30%. They also mention they are working on projects in the areas of electricity, water usage, and solid waste. While these other aspects of sustainability are extremely important, I would love to see more specifics about their initiatives in these areas to feel confident that these claims are not greenwashing. Field Roast is owned by Greenleaf Foods, a parent company to other plant-based food brands such as Lightlife. Greenleaf Foods is also a segregated portfolio company under Maple Leaf Foods, a business dedicated to producing more sustainable proteins.