Quorn Meatless Nuggest

overall Rating:

2

planets

Ria Shome
10/12/2020

The overall rating is 2 planets for this product. Firstly, their packaging also says “meatless”, but some might consider eggs meat…so this is misleading and incorrect to some. I think it is a problem as I would categorize eggs as a meat product. This is up for the consumer to decide, of course.
As a meat alternative, these nuggets do a good job of incorporating ingredients that are plant-based (some of them) and still have a nice amount of protein in them. If you want a vegetarian product that will be a healthier alternative to meat nuggets, then this might be a great option for you! There are so many aspects of sustainability that this British brand is willing to consider, and they are continuing to make their products and packaging more sustainable. The pros outweigh the cons, even if Quorn could improve in packaging and ingredient areas.

SDG’s Quorn has worked toward:
3 (good health), 8 (decent work), 12 (responsible consumption/production), 13 (climate action), 15 (life on land)

what it's made of:

2

Corn and wheat are products used to help enhance the flavor of these products. Eggs are used in this case to help the shape of the product.
Once again, mycoprotein is the main ingredient in this product, and it is sustainably sourced. It is supposedly naturally high in protein and fiber with low saturated fat content. This protein comes from a fungus called Fusarium venenatum.
Other ingredients include wheat flour, wheat gluten, pea fiber, milk proteins, eggs, and seasonings.
The packaging is made out of cardboard sleeves, which is said to be fully recyclable. All cases have used recycled cardboard and are said to come from a sustainable source (they don’t mention the source).

Considerations:
- Wheat and corn are not the most entirely sustainable crops. Corn is at a high risk from the effects of climate change, and it is inefficient as it involves really damaging fertilizer practices. A lot of corn is grown in places that have high water stress. It also uses millions of tons of nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus, which again isn’t the most sustainable.
- The mycoprotein uses 90% less land and water than other protein sources (namely animal protein), which is why it makes such a greatly sustainable, plant-based protein source.  
- Mycoprotein supposedly has a number of health benefits such as helping maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. (Yay for health!)
-Milk proteins here are coming from animal milk rather than plant-based milk, which isn’t the most sustainable ingredient (nor has it been approved much by vegetarian consumers of this nugget). Greenhouse gas emissions go up with dairy milk production, so that affects the overall footprint. I definitely think this is important to consider if avoiding animal product is of importance to you!
- Pea fibers are quite sustainable coming from peas because this plant requires less water and fertilizer than other plant-based protein sources. Peas are able to fix nitrogen, so this improves soil health. Win-win for this ingredient!
*Keep in mind this product is vegetarian, so avoid this nugget if you prefer a vegan protein option and look toward other Quorn products for a vegan choice (they are out there)!
Although there are some animal products… the trade-off could be worth it due to a number of ingredients being beneficial for the environment (for similar reasons listed in the above section).  

how it's made:

2

The whole process is said to be quite efficient because it is said to require less wheat and water to produce the mycoprotein product as opposed to meat products. This results in lower carbon emissions according to the Quorn company.
The manufacturing process also involves a long process that are primarily there to help bind the mycoprotein fibers together to keep the shape of the nuggets. Some of these steps include steaming, chilling, freezing to keep a meat-like texture within the product at the finishing point. Fermentation is another part of the process.

Considerations:
- Usage of 8 times less land than beef mince in manufacturing process
- 10 times less water usage than in the production of beef
- Usage of cellulose instead of plant starch in the fermentation process, which is a better carbon source for the planet
*This is so important because parts of their production process here focus on conserving resources, and they’re continuing to find better production methods!
I would say the trade-off is worth it here due to how much water is ultimately saved in creating this product as opposed to a meat product.

who makes it:

2.5

This is a British brand and is primarily sold in Europe. Quorn began in the 1960s. As conventional farming wasn’t able to keep up with food demand, there was a search for an alternative to meat products that provided a good source of protein. Eventually a microorganism that is the mycoprotein fungus showed up! The Quorn brand launched in the 1980s by Marlow Foods, and now is sold outside of Europe. It is currently owned by the Monde Nissin Corporation.

Considerations:
- This brand is accessible in 14 different countries including the U.S. (although it is primarily sold in Europe).
- The nuggets are a reasonable price for consumers wanting a meat-free product that is high in protein! (in the U.S., the nuggets are roughly $3.60)
- The Monde Nissin Group is determined to environmental issues according to their website: energy recycling and pollution control are priorities along with waste management. They don’t really go in depth on what they do specifically to tackle these issues even though they are of importance to the company.
- Labor treatment: EthicsPoint is a system that this group uses in order for people to report work fraud, abuse, and other misconduct in order for employees to be able to have the most positive and safe workspace possible. They prioritize employee safety and happiness.
Another aspect of sustainability they include is to focus attention on human health and education. They want children and families to have stronger and healthier bonds while eating healthy. ***this is idealistically a great thought as studies show children are less likely to fall into unhealthy habits (illegal substances for example) if they share a nurturing bond with their parents, but I am not sure how they can truly monitor that.

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