When it comes to enjoying amazing vegetarian food, Gardein is definitely one of the best there is. In fact, it is a personal favorite of mine. Recently, I had the chance to speak with the founder of Gardein, Yves Potvin about the brand. Here is what he had to say…
(Q) Tell me a little more about the Gardein brand…
Gardein (garden + protein) is a sustainable protein brand that creates deliciously meaty foods made from plants. We offer mouthwatering products that are good for you and good for the planet. Our product line-up includes 23 different products, ranging from beefless tips, golden fishless filets, as well as, awarding winning favorites such as seven grain crispy tenders and crispy chick’n sliders, and a selection of limited edition holiday items (Turk’y Holiday Roast stuffed with Wild Rice and Cranberries with traditional gravy). Breakfast, lunch and dinner are covered for anyone who wants to incorporate great tasting, plant-based protein into their diet.
(Q) Behind every great product lies a major source of influence. What inspired you to create this plant-protein brand?
I was inspired to create healthier, sustainable versions of foods people love to eat that offer real meat-like taste and texture. I’ve always believed that plant protein should be at the center of every plate. It shouldn’t have to feel like a sacrifice to swap meatless options into your diet. We launched Gardein in 2009 and have since become the fastest growing brand in the category. My goal is to continue developing new convenient and versatile plant-based proteins to feed the rising demand for healthier meat options. I feel it has never been easier to make the change in your diet for better health and a better environment.
(Q) It is evident that Gardein is made from plants, but is gardein free of genetically modified organisms (or GMOs)?
Yes, the soy protein and wheat in all our products are non-GMO We are currently enrolled with the Non-GMO Project and hope to be 100% non-gmo in the near future.
(Q) I absolutely love the ‘Beefless Tips’ however; everything I have tried by Gardein has been fantastic. What are your current best sellers?
We love hearing that you love Gardein! Of course we make delicious beefless items, but we’re so much more. We currently offer 23 products and to date, some of our most popular items are: the Gardein golden fishless filet, which is our newest product, but already a fan favorite. It’s a cholesterol free, great-tasting protein that is rich in flavor and texture and provides 32 mg of EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids. The Gardein seven grain crispy tenders which provide a good source of protein with 8g per serving, no trans-fat and are ready in only 10 minutes! The Gardein mandarin orange crispy chick’n is another favorite and a good source of protein with 17g per serving. It also comes with a sweet and tangy sauce. The Gardein crispy chick’n sliders are perfect as a snack or meal, each meat-free slider comes with a bun and delivers 11g of protein and only 190 calories per serving. In addition this Item won Better Homes & Gardens Magazine Best New Product of 2014 as voted by consumers. The Gardein ultimate beefless burger is ready in as little as 8 minutes and this beefless burger is made with 65% less fat than a beef burger.
(Q) Talking about the health benefits, what are the benefits of eating Gardein?
Eating meatless, even just one day a week, is the simplest way to improve your overall health. gardein has less fat than traditional proteins and no cholesterol, which can reduce the risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Gardein also provides a good source of protein and fiber.
(Q) How do you flavor your products? I have to ask, the yeast extract that you use in your products, is it MSG or non-MSG?
While we won’t give away the secret to how we create such tasty treats, we can say confidently that there is no MSG in our product and we use non-MSG yeast extract to enhance gardein’s flavor. I was trained as a traditional French chef and understand that flavor is everything. Over the past 30 years, I have dedicated my career specifically to perfecting the taste and texture of plant-based foods.
(Q) Is it true that if you eat one less meat burger, it’s like taking your car off the road for 320 miles? And if an entire family of 4 stops eating red meat for a week, it’s like taking the car off the road for 3 months? Tell me a little more about these statistical facts…
Yes! Gardein is making the world a better place, one meatless meal at a time. Many people don’t know that cutting back on meat just one day of the week, while beneficial to your health, has a drastic impact on the environment. One of the biggest environmental impacts of a meat-eating diet is the depletion of natural resources, specifically the consumption of large amounts of water for livestock production. Today, with more than 17 billion livestock in the world, that’s about triple the number of people, raising these animals requires huge amounts of water! Most of the water is used to irrigate the grains and hay to feed these animals – it can take up to 15 times as much water to raise animals compared to farming plants for food supply. Also, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently published a report stating that the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation.
(Q) What is your stance on animal cruelty?
We believe all animals deserve to be treated in a humane and compassionate manner. We support and applaud the efforts of the multitude of organizations bringing awareness and affecting policy change including PETA, HSUS, Mercy for Animals and Sea Shepherd.
(Q) I think a lot of your fans (like myself) want to know what products you are going to be coming out with next. The question remains, what is next for Gardein?
You’ll have to wait and see! We are always developing new protein innovations, new flavors and new categories to meet consumer’s culinary preferences. I can’t tell you what will be next, but I can tell you they will be tasty!
(Q) For those people considering the vegetarian or vegan eating lifestyle, what advice do you have for them?
Today, eating better for you protein is easier than ever. We suggest incorporating meat options, such as plant-based proteins, like gardein, into your diet slowly. Try eliminating meat once a week for Meatless Monday. Another great way to cut back on meat is to swap out the meat from your favorite meal with a plant-based options. Our website offers great meatless recipes that deliver tasty and filling meals.
For more information about gardein, please visit www.gardein.com today.