Meat analogue (or mock meat) is a type of food that is usually made out of plants to resemble meat in taste, texture, appearance and nutritional qualities. Most common meat analogues are produced out of soybeans or wheat protein. They can be made to taste like chicken, beef, lamb, ham, duck, fish, sausage, seafood, etc.
Meat analogues are used by non-vegetarians to reduce their meat consumption or as transitional food towards becoming vegetarian, and by vegetarians and vegans because they like the taste but do not want to support raising and killing of animals for food.
Meat analogues have a long history. The most early ones, made out of seitan or yuba, were invented in China by Buddhist monks to help them follow vegetarian diet. Later that spread to other countries in the region. To this day mock meat is very popular in vegetarian Chinese cuisine. Soy meat, another popular meat analogue, has much shorter history as it was invented in the US in the 1950s.
There are many types of food that can be considered as meat analogues: