Product review: Birds Eye Plant Based range

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Thursday, 02 September 2021.
Tagged: review, vegan, vegetables

Product review:  Birds Eye Plant Based range

When you think of Birds Eye, their frozen peas and fish fingers probably come to mind. But I bet you’d never think of plant-based products!

clipboardThis post has been sponsored by Birds Eye. 

Well, let me tell you a little secret. I’ve been experimenting with Birds Eye’s range of plant-based products – aka meatless mince, burgers and meatballs – and they’re jolly good!

In the past, I’ve not been a fan of a plant-based, or vegan, diet. I really feel that you need the nutrients from meat and fish, such as vitamin B12, iron, zinc and omega-3.  Also, vegan meat-substitutes are often highly processed, which are not foods we should be eating more of.  In contrast, most red meat in Australia – such as beef, lamb and kangaroo – is grass fed and constitutes a single food, with all that this implies.

I’ve tried these three newish offerings from Birds Eye’s Plant Based range (mince, meatballs and burgers) and I have to say, they’re delicious. And I’m not just saying that because this is a paid review. I genuinely believe it. Here’s what I discovered about these products. They are all based on protein coming from soy, wheat or pea so are different to those made from quorn which comes from a fungus. I have featured quorn before.

There are many added flavours from yeast (a natural source of iron), yeast extract (a little like Vegemite which has a lot of umami flavour to it), salt, hydrolysed vegetable protein, onion, garlic, not forgetting the smoke flavour as well as flavour overall.  

Taste: 8 out of 10

The "mince"

You can use this “mince” in place of beef or lamb mince, with no issues whatsoever. It makes a super Bolognese sauce. The mince didn’t taste fake or plant-y, but it did feel a little weird to be eating meatless “meat”.

Bol Sauce Cooking Lspe

The “meatballs” tasted OK.

They weren’t as light and fluffy as those I would make with beef mince, but were still acceptable. Each packet contains about 30 small meatballs. They did taste somewhat bland, even with a tomato, herb and garlic sauce. I decided they would perhaps be a good alternative to falafel on pita bread with hummus and yoghurt.

The "burgers"

The “burgers” were indistinguishable from meat burgers, once combined with onion, beetroot and tomato (my usual burger additions) in a bun.  

Nutrition: 19 out of 20

Bol Sauce Pasta Prtt

 Here are the nutrition details for the plant-based mince, which I like and will continue to buy:

  •  It is low in saturated fat, with only 1 g per 100 g. (You can verify this from the nutrition info.)
  •  It is high in plant protein, with 21 g per 100 g.
  •  It is a source of iron, zinc and vitamin B12 – three nutrients that vegan diets can lack. The zinc and B12 have been added; the iron occurs naturally in the yeast, according to the manufacturer. I have written about this vegan deficiency already.
  • As expected, it is low in carbs and in sugars.
  • It is high in fibre, with almost 7 g per 100 g.
  • It has only a moderate amount of sodium, a measure of salt, with 581 mg.

Here are the nutrition figures based on a 100 g serve (each 300 g pack contains 3 serves): 

                       Nutrient                          

                 Quantity                     

Energy, kj 825
 Energy, Cals 196
 Protein, g 21.3
 Fat, g 9.3
 Fat, saturated, g 1.1
 Carbohydrate, g 3.9
 Sugars, g 1.2
 Fibre, g 6.6
 Sodium, mg 581

 Health Star Rating
Not surprisingly, this mince shows a Health Star rating of 4.5 out of 5, which is very high. The Burger and the Meatballs both sported 4 out of 5.

 Ingredients
Here is the list of ingredients for the mince:

Water, plant based protein (25%), canola oil, flavour, yeast extracts, maltodextrin, salt, sugar, hydrolysed vegetable protein, yeast, vegetables (onion, garlic), smoke flavour, food acid (tartaric), pepper, mineral (zinc), vitamin (B12). 

Convenience: 9 out of 10

All these products are quick and convenient. The nice thing is that you can cook them from frozen (see picture of the frozen mince below), and there’s no wastage.

mince frozen Lspe fnl

 Sustainability: 7 out of 10

 Some 60–70% of the ingredients in the products are Australian ingredients, with 4 out of the 5 products manufactured in Australia. The manufacturer told me that Birds Eye are working towards everything being sourced in Australia, saying, “We know this is important to consumers, and we are working on plans for Australian solutions.

“Some of the ingredients and technologies used to produce these ingredients are not currently available in Australia, therefore we are required to import them.”

The packaging is either a cardboard box, which is fully recyclable, OR a heavy-duty plastic bag with a gusset, which can be returned to the store. The packaging explains how to recycle the box or bag.

 The recycling information is clear and easy to understand. It removes confusion, saves you time and reduces waste going to landfill.

 You can also recycle the bags via the Red Cycle Program. Check online for a nearby drop-off point in your area. 

 Packs Collage 640x480

There are five options in this range, including Chicken-style Tenders and Chicken-style Strips (not reviewed here). You can find more about this range on the Birds Eye website

Cooking tips and recipes

Each packet contains a QR code, which you can scan for more recipes. The Burger code, for instance, takes you to the Birds Eye website, where you’ll find helpful how-to videos and an ebooks of recipes, plus the ingredients list and nutrition figures. In the 18-page ebook, I liked the Mediterranean Burger and Tortilla Wrap Burger recipes. 

Total score = 43 out of 50 so 4 Apples

 Apples 4 smll

 The bottom line

These are really good products to have in your freezer. Currently, they are only sold at Coles supermarkets and are well priced. They make an easy plant-based switch for the meals you love.

 

Related links / External websites

https://BirdsEye.com.au/plant-based

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby has the answers! She is an accredited nutritionist, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Nutrition for Life 2020 Edition is a fresh new update on all the things you've read about or heard in the last year. Think insects, collagen, vegan eating, Keto dieting, vitamin B12, fast food and cafe culture.  It has plenty of colour pictures and is easy to dip in and out of. Grab your copy NOW!