Nothing like bacon. That smoky odor. The crispy texture. The tempting mix of savory and sweet.
That's why many of us just can't give up meat forever. So it is no surprise that manufacturers have been working on creating a meat-free replacement – made from everything from coconut to mold to pea protein – to satisfy the most determined carnivores (and vegans with withdrawal symptoms).
Bacon on a vegetable basis is often also better for our health. Processed meat that has been designated as a class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. The NHS also recommends logging.
Vegan Tanith Carey and her husband, carnivore Anthony, gave their opinion on a selection of meat-free bacon including Wheaty Vegan Bacon (photo)
British consumers seem to be embracing meat-free meals. One in six food products introduced last year contained no animal ingredients – a larger proportion than in any other country – according to market research firm Mintel.
As a four-year-old vegan, it doesn't take much to convince me to try meat-free bacon. But can the fake bacon or "facon" convince my carnivore husband Anthony?
Bacon made from wheat
Wheaty Vegan Bacon (£ 1.79 for 5 slices, thevegankindupermarket.com)
What is it? The package does not look promising. Inside are five blunt strips made of seitan, a wheat protein.
The vegan's judgment: It has been a long time since I had bacon, but this somewhat rubbery texture does not take me back. It has 35.3 grams of protein, enough to silence any nasty meat eater with the question: & # 39; Where do you get your protein from? & # 39;
The verdict of the carnivore: The most important taste is onion, which evokes memories of the filling that I would have with Christmas dinner, instead of a full English. Although tasty, it doesn't look like the real thing.
Bacon rating: 2/5
Maple syrup strips
Tofurky Treehouse Tempeh Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Strips (£ 4.59 for 15, ocado.com)
Tanith says that Tofurky Treehouse Tempeh Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Strips (photo) don't look like real bacon
What is it? At first glance this is astonishing because it looks like vacuum-packed minced meat in the package. The odd-looking finger-like pieces are made from tempeh grains, a type of fermented soybean, marinated in maple syrup.
The vegan's judgment: These don't look like something I've seen in my life. They look like small seeds glued together and crumble in the frying pan. This will never convince Anthony to become vegan.
The verdict of the carnivore: This is intensely smoky in taste, but not the bacon I have ever experienced. With 115 calories per 100 grams, a quarter of the amount found in many bacons, I was able to leave my slices because of my arteries. 3/5
Smoked with beech
Sgaia Mheat Streaky Rashers (£ 4.15 for four, thevegankindsupermarket.com)
Anthony says he initially would not have seen that Sgaia Mheat Streaky Rashers (photo) is not a real bacon
What is it? A mix of soy and protein, flavored with liquid smoke from beech wood, as well as onion, garlic, beetroot and molasses.
The vegan's judgment: It looks like the real thing and cooks and hisses like bacon, but the beech wood gives the game away.
The verdict of the carnivore: I don't think I could have said that at first sight this facon was not made of pork, although the taste might have warned me. With only 1.4 g total fat, my arteries would have appreciated it. 4/5
Pea protein strips
This is not Bacon Plant-based slices (£ 3.19 for 10, ocado.com)
Tanith and Anthony were both impressed by This Isn & Bacon Plant-based Rashers (photo) due to its taste and appearance
What is it? Radish, carrot and bell pepper give this the pink hue of the bacon. The slices are made from pea and soy protein, so it contains a lot of proteins, with 24.5 g per 100 g.
The vegan's judgment: The slices looked like slimy tippers, but bake it and something magical happens. It becomes crispy and striped and turns into a creepy convincing re-creation of the real thing.
The verdict of the carnivore: This facon can lure me to the vegan side. It is cut so finely that it becomes crispy when it is cooked, and it mimics the real thing. 5/5
Mold the bacon
Quorn Vegetarian Bacon (£ 1.75 for eight, ocado.com)
Tanith says she would not eat Quorn Vegetarian Bacon (photo) because it contains egg, but she is happy that it is available
What is it? This is made from mycoprotein, a protein-rich fungus, which is then fermented, dried and mixed with egg.
The vegan's judgment: This facon is supplied as pink elongated strips. Because it contains egg, it is not on the menu for me. Anyway, I am still happy that it is there, because it costs 90 percent less land and water to make than pigs.
The verdict of the carnivore: I have not seen pink and faint since Spam at school. It tasted too sugary and lacked the smoky notes of its rivals. 1/5
More than 30 ingredients
Vegan Cartel Vegan Bacon (£ 4.20 for 12, thevegankind supermarket.com)
Anthony says that Vegan Cartel Vegan Bacon (photo) is sweet, smoky and just as decadent as real bacon
What is it? To simulate the "cured" taste of bacon, more than 30 extra ingredients have been added to the wheat gluten base.
The vegan's verdict: Excellent bacon replica, although it contains approximately as many calories as the real thing. It is delicious, convincing in taste and appearance.
The verdict of the carnivore: Salty, sweet and smoky, this is just as decadent-tasting as real bacon. Our dog Honey could not see the difference either. 4/5
Red with added iron
Vbites Cheatin ’Rashers (£ 2.30 for 7, Morrisons)
Tanithy and Anthony say that Vbites Cheatin ’Rashers (photo) does not remind them of bacon and has a robust texture
What is it? A blend of soy, wheat gluten and vegetable fat & # 39; formed & # 39; into bacon-flavored slices, then stained with iron oxide to give a red tint.
The vegan's judgment: This is like no bacon I remember. Yet the robust texture means it is a good addition to pasta sauce or is used instead of pepperoni on a pizza.
The verdict of the carnivore: It lost its spam-like hue when baking and had the consistency of light brown leather. It tasted like salted cardboard. 1/5
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