Impossible Burger: Is Plant-Based Meet The Next Big Thing?

Imagine eating a plant-based product that tastes and feels like beef. That is the reality that Impossible Foods aims to achieve with its Impossible Burger by leveraging food science to develop a plant-based beef substitute that has a lower carbon footprint than real beef from cows.

Achieving the impossible

Impossible Foods launched the first version of the Impossible burger in 2016 using a patty that tastes like beef but developed using plant-based products. The company managed to achieve this using a molecule known as heme whose ingredients include iron. The latter is the main reason why cooked meat has an interesting flavor.

The company’s CEO revealed that they use a protein to bind the heme. The original Impossible burger was developed using wheat protein, but the drawback was that it was not gluten-free. There were also other downsides such as the patty’s inability to take up different shapes while maintaining its integrity.

The firm switched to soy protein instead of wheat protein and thus the second version of the Impossible Burger was born. Each quarter-pound serving of the plant-based meat substitute has 240 calories and 14 grams of fat.  The company also claims that the Impossible Burger 2.0 has the same amount of proteins and iron as the cow-based counterpart. Amino acids in the plant-based meat are also on the level of amino acids in real meat and might even be more in some cases.

The plant-based meat has a smaller carbon footprint than real meat

The results of an analysis on the Impossible Burger 2.0 revealed that its carbon footprint is 89% percent smaller than that of the beef burger. It also reduces water contamination by 92%, requires 96% less land and 87% less water compared to regular beef from cows. The manufacturing process is a lot faster and less resource intensive compared to cow farming for meat.

The impossible Burger also wins in the farm because the soy used in its production process achieves higher yields per acre of land compared to cow farming. One of the key advantages of this plant-based meat alternative is the fact that it can serve the already huge vegan market which is rapidly growing as more people choose to stop consuming animal products.

The Impossible Burger might thus become a huge hit with the vegan community because it is plant-based and still retains the taste found in real meat. It could also point towards a possible future where the markets opt for this type of product because the production process is significantly faster and more sustainable than animal meat. Most importantly, a lot of animals will be saved from the slaughterhouse.

Impossible Foods plans to start selling the Impossible Burger in U.S retail outlets, but it is currently pending regulatory approval by the Food and Drug Administration. However, it has already made its way to more than 5,000 restaurants in the U.S. Once it passes the regulatory hurdles, the company could be on its way to disrupting the food industry with its plant-based meat alternative.