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Monday, October 18, 2021

Plant-based pork rinds: the new favourite bar snack

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A niche product but one that has been warmly received by consumers, plant-based pork rinds (or scratchings) are reaching peak snack.

When Outstanding Foods launched the plant-based alternatives to fried pig skin in 2020, did the team behind know it would be the world’s new favourite snack?

The PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds have taken the US alt-meat market by storm, with raving customer reviews. They were crafted by Dave Anderson, who created the legendary Beyond Burger. The pork scratching alternatives derived from vegan sources are available in multiple flavours: Original, Nacho Cheese, Hella Hot, Salt & Vinegar and Texas BBQ.

Its ingredients include rice, sunflower oil, pea protein, and pea grits, with a pork rind seasoning made from pea protein, maltodextrin, sea salt, cane sugar, salt and white distilled vinegar.

Read our story about how pea protein became a star ingredient in plant-based meat.

The Nacho Cheese flavour contains sea salt, yeast extract, onion, garlic, green bell pepper and tomato powders, spices and jalapeño pepper. The main ingredients for the Texas BBQ spice blend are cane sugar, tomato powder, natural smoke flavor, paprika, garlic and sea salt, while the Hella Hot contains paprika, white vinegar, paprika extract, onion powder, garlic powder and habanero pepper. And the Salt & Vinegar variant contains sea salt, distilled white vinegar, yeast extract, lactic acid, citric acid and natural flavours.

The vegan pork rinds are part of a company backed by Shark Tank’s Matt Higgins, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, actor Emily Deschanel and dog trainer Cesar Millan. The Los Angeles-based company has also been promoted by Snoop Dogg.

 

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For each 1oz serving of the Original, the vegan pork rinds contain 130 calories, 6g of total fat (only 0.5g is saturated), 13g of carbohydrates, 7g of protein and zero cholesterol or trans fats. These animal-free products are baked instead of fried and are free from gluten, soy and GMOs. Per bag, there are 460 calories, 21g of fat (2.5g saturated), 44g of carbohydrates and 25g of protein.

In the UK, Kickstarter-funded Vegan Pig is leading the vegan pork scratchings scene. Made with soy protein, it was founded by Josh Pearce and Sean Johnson, who have a background in advertising and marketing.

 

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Soy pieces are flash-fried and seasoned with a spice mix made from vegan ingredients to obtain the crispy skin and softer fat texture. The dual texture is key for Pearce and Johnson, who had to delay the launch of the product due to the pandemic.

Conventional pork scratchings are considered one of the least nutritious food products, so these plant-based rinds are a great alternative.

Anay Mridul
Anay is the managing editor of The Vegan Review. A journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.