- New companies focused on creating plant-based alternatives to animal-derived meats are on the rise. They aim to re-create the meat-eating experience with veggie burgers that smell, sear, and “bleed” like beef.
- Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are two companies that have developed cutting-edge veggie burgers.
- On Thursday, Beyond Meat made an explosive debut on the Nasdaq. Shares surged by as much as 163%.
- Impossible Foods, on the other hand, recently announced a deal with Burger King to roll out a vegan Impossible Whopper to locations across America.
- We tasted burgers from the two companies to see which was better.
Raising meat for human consumption is tough on the environment. More than one-third of all raw materials in the US is used to raise animals for food, according to the animal-rights group PETA. It takes 1,847 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef.
To combat this, new companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are exploring new ways to create sustainable meat alternatives.
While there have long been plenty of soy-based meat alternatives on the market, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods aim to be different. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods don’t create “lab-grown meat” – a separate innovation that involves growing actual meat in a lab – but their burgers still smell, sear, and “bleed” as beef does, aiming to please meat eaters by re-creating the experience of eating animal-derived meat without the ethical and environmental drawbacks.
Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio are among the investors who have partnered with Beyond Meat to jump-start its success. Since launching the Beyond Burger in 2016, Beyond Meat has sold more than 11 million of the burgers, which can now be found at TGI Fridays and in grocery stores nationwide.
On Thursday, Beyond Meat made an explosive debut on the Nasdaq, with shares surging by as much as 163%.
Impossible Foods, on the other hand, recently announced a deal with Burger King to roll out a vegan Impossible Whopper to locations across America. It is also partnering with Qdoba to roll out plant-based Impossible bowls and tacos to locations across the country, starting in New York.
We set out to taste both vegan burgers at Bareburger and TGI Fridays in New York City, and while both burgers are healthy and sustainable alternatives to meat, we had a clear favourite:
This article was originally written by Jessica Tyler.
First I went to a Bareburger restaurant in downtown Manhattan, one of the few locations that has the Impossible Burger on the menu.
When my food arrived, I almost thought I was delivered the wrong meal. The Impossible Burger looked exactly like a hamburger. I ordered it with vegan cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a sprout bun.
It definitely seared the way a hamburger would. The Impossible Burger relies on a plant-derived ingredient called heme for its meaty feel and look. It’s made from wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes.
The inside of the burger certainly looked more like beef than a veggie burger. It didn’t “bleed,” but it did have a pink hue on the inside, and it tasted a lot more like beef than any other veggie burger I’ve had. The texture was also very similar to beef, and the burger was juicy.
After Bareburger, I headed to TGI Fridays, which has the Beyond Burger on the menu at all locations. The burger is also available in many grocery chains across the US.
I ordered the burger as listed on the menu, minus the cheese and sauce. As with the Impossible Burger, it looked exactly like a hamburger.
It also smelled strongly like a hamburger, more so than the Impossible Burger did.
It seared and charred the way a hamburger would. Beyond Meat’s burger — made from yeast extract, coconut oil, and peas — appears to bleed because of the addition of beets.
The inside of the burger was red, but this burger didn’t “bleed” either. It also was drier than the Impossible Burger. The textures of the two burgers were different, but both resembled beef more than a typical veggie burger would.
Both the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger looked, smelled, and tasted like beef — it was clear that the goal of each company was to appeal to meat eaters. Both burgers were delicious and show how far meat substitutes have come. But, overall, the Impossible Burger had a better texture and flavour.
It tasted enough like beef to satisfy a meat eater but certainly should not turn away a vegan or vegetarian.
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