Plant-based products are ones that are developed and produced or manufactured using only plants and no animal derivatives. These products are often considered more environmentally friendly due to most of the products having the ability to biodegrade or be renewed. Additionally, it has also been stated that using plant-based products can help reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent compared to fossil-fuel-based products. The development of plant-based products can be seen across a multitude of industries.
Plant-based food is a multi-billion-dollar industry that makes alternatives to foods that are traditionally made with animal derivatives. Notable plant-based options include plant-based meat and dairy. There are many plant-based meat companies, including Beyond Meat and The Vegetarian Butcher. Major food establishments, such as Burger King, have added plant-based alternatives to their menus.
Many dairy alternatives with plant-based milks are becoming popular. Plant-based milks include ingredients such as soy, oat, coconuts, almonds, cashews, or rice. Similar to plant-based meat alternatives, the milks have begun being offered at major establishments, such as Starbucks.
While it would make sense for supplements to be all-natural, some are made with synthetic chemicals or artificial ingredients. There has been a rise in supplements being produced exclusively with plants, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, and flowers. Manufacturers can extract vitamins and minerals from plants to create specific supplements. For example, vitamin D can be extracted from mushrooms and put into supplement form.
In recent history, cosmetics have been made with chemicals and animal by-products, such as cochineal beetles in lipstick. Plant-based cosmetics are made with plant extracts and oils. Lotions, sunscreen, deodorants, and make-up can all be made with ingredients that would make them plant-based products.
There are already several textiles that are traditionally made from plants, such as cotton and linen. There are companies that are creating alternatives to textiles made with animal by-products, such as leather. Ananas Anam is one company that is making a leather alternative, called Piñatex, from pineapple leaves.
Plant-based products have been developed for a multitude of other industries:
- cleaning and household supplies
- construction materials
- toys and games