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Vegan Jerky: meaty protein sans meat


If you’ve gone grocery shopping recently, you may have noticed vegan jerky (a.k.a. animal-free jerky, plant-based jerky or meatless jerky) displayed at your local supermarket. It’s one of the most noticeable vegan explosions to hit the market since hyper-accurate vegan products like burgers, sausages, eggs, chicken and fish initially hit shelves in the 2010s.

What is vegan jerky made of?

Vegan jerky can be made from many different meat substitutes. Some of the most popular meat alternatives used in this type of jerky include:

  • soy protein
  • mung bean protein
  • pea protein
  • mushrooms
  • kelp
  • jackfruit
  • pineapples
  • bananas
  • mangos

Does it taste like real meat?

Since there is a wide range of different meat substitutes used in meatless jerky, there is quite a range of different flavors and textures depending on the brand.

Some brands that aim their products toward the existing vegan and vegetarian crowd (who may actually prefer foods that don’t taste like meat) are definitely softer or more brittle than real meat.

However, other plant-based brands that focus on pleasing the tastes of the meat-loving public make jerky that mimic the flavor and texture of real meat relatively well. Anecdotally, the meatiest types of vegan jerky are made by Beyond Meat and Unisoy.

Is vegan jerky healthy?

Because vegan jerky doesn’t include any animal products, it can be inherently healthier than traditional jerky since they have less cholesterol and fat. Additionally, you can be sure there are no added hormones.

However, you’ll want to keep in mind that all types of jerky (whether vegan or not) are generally very high in sodium with many brands providing 25% or more of your daily value in one serving. So, make sure to enjoy this snack in moderation and balance it out with other snacks that have little to no sodium.

What are some of the best brands of vegan jerky?

There are many different plant-based brands on the market that sell jerky. Since everyone has their own flavor and texture preferences, you’ll have to try them yourself to see what matches your personal preferences best. Here are some of the most popular, best selling brands that you may want to look into first:

Where can I find vegan jerky?

You can find this animal-free jerky in the snack section of your local major supermarket (e.g. Walmart, Sprouts, Target, Whole Foods, etc.) or online by clicking the brand links above.

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