If you’re like me, you’ve had your share of veggie burgers. They typically resemble hockey pucks — not only in shape, but also in their frozen texture. But all that’s about to change, thanks to the folks at Impossible Foods.
If you are vegan, or like to buy mock meats, you are probably already familiar with Impossible Foods. They are the makers of the Beyond Meat line of products, like Beyond Chicken: Grilled Strips. These are non-GMO soy and pea protein based products. All of these products are available in the frozen food section of many grocery chains.
Now, Impossible Foods looks to do, well, the impossible. They have manufactured a new burger. What’s different about this vegan burger is that they are selling it fresh, not frozen. Although, we have not gotten our teeth into this new burger, we are told that it comes package fresh, it looks like ground beef and you make burger patties with it the same way you would make a beef burger. When it cooks, it browns on the outside and is bloody red on the inside. The “blood” is beet juice. Again, having never tasted it, I can’t speak first hand about how could it is, but I have included a video below, so you can check it out.
Presently, it is only available in Whole Foods in Boulder, CO, but the company has plans to mass market it and distribute it nationwide. A two-pack of patties sells for $5.99, about twice the cost of most of the usual hockey puck varieties.
Marketing it in the fresh meat section, next to animal flesh might help and hurt sales. I can imagine carnivores and omnivores might want to give it a try, but I suspect there’s a segment of the vegan population who wouldn’t want to see all that dead flesh.
The product has certainly received considerable media attention. I have seen write-ups about it in the New York Times, and several other traditional media sources which cover food, even Smithsonian Magazine wrote about this new burger recently. But this week I have seen articles in both Business Insider and Seeking Alpha — these are investing sites, not your usual source of vegan product news. One of the investors in this company is Bill Gates.
There’s a interesting summary of the future of food according to Gates here:
Gates tried Beyond Meat’s grilled chicken product and was fooled; he thought it was real chicken. It wasn’t just Gates, Mark Bittman also thought it was real chicken.
The chicken taco I (Bill Gates) ate was made using Beyond Meat’s chicken alternative. I wasn’t the only one fooled by how real it tasted. New York Times food writer Mark Bittman couldn’t tell the difference between Beyond Meat and real chicken either. You can read his review here.