"Fake meat" such as soy burgers or tofu hot dogs often make the transition to plant based eating more palatable for the consumer. However, such foods are still highly processed and may not confer a health benefit. This often puts the benefits of plant based eating - health of the individual vs. health of the planet - at odds with one another. What do you think the role of these fake meat foods should be?
Fake meats in my opinion have two main roles. They certainty can be considered a transition food but they are also a convenience food. While these "fake meats" might not be rich in micronutrients like minerals and vitamins, they do contain macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein), which are also required by the body. Unfortunately, with the current pace of many individuals lives a "unprocessed" meal is not always possible and so I think these foods are ideal for these instances.
In my opinion, the main purpose of fake meat is to serve as a transition food. Products like soy burgers or tofu hot dogs open up the general publics mind to plant-based options. Introduction to these products along with a good experience consuming them, makes the idea of an "unprocessed" meal much more feasible for the masses. Exposure is key.
"Fake Meats' is a poor term. Meat is a primary source of protein along with some fat in the diet. Other sources of protein and combinations of proteins to provide protein equivalent ratios and profiles that are conducive for the body are essential. In addition, other nutrients are availabe with some of these ingredients such as fiber in beans, legumes and pulses along with protein.