The plot to eliminate cows and end the beef industry is proceeding apace. After a limited release earlier this summer, Burger King has announced that it will be offering the Impossible Whopper, featuring plant-based fake “beef” patties, at all of its American outlets for a limited time starting August 8th. After that full test run, they will decide if the fake beef will become a permanent feature. The anticipated price of the Impossible Whopper is $5.59, roughly one dollar more than the standard Whopper with real beef.
But how do they taste? One member of the Salem family here (who shall remain nameless for their own safety) has already taken the plunge and told me that they’re actually not bad. But for a more detailed analysis, some reporters at Yahoo obtained the new Whoppers and did a side-by-side taste comparison with the beef Whopper. They were clearly more receptive to the idea than I would have been, but here are their results. (Yahoo)
Burger King sent our office early samples of the new sandwiches along with regular Whoppers and, across the board, the Impossible Whopper was well-received. Generally, Impossible Foods has done a decent job of replicating the texture and taste of meat as well as the patties of its various customers (think the thin squares at White Castle versus the Whopper). Sure, when you look extremely closely at the patties, you can tell the difference as the plant-based burger is less dense (fluffier?) than ground beef. It also retains a pleasant brown color that some fast food burgers lose as they give way to a greyer tone on the grill. Inside the Impossible patty, there were spots of pink where the burger was less-cooked which more closely mimicked ordering your Whopper medium-rare.
As for taste, in full hamburger context, both Whoppers were pretty identical. When we tasted the patties themselves, however, we could pick up on the differences. The Impossible burger has a bit more saltiness to it and a smoke flavor appeared to be added in, whereas the beef Whopper has more of the iron-y and charred flavor Impossible’s heme compound is trying to replicate.
So the dining experience wasn’t too bad for them but there were clearly differences. Having a saltier taste along with some fake smoke flavoring doesn’t sound all that appealing, but the company seems to have come close. The Yahoo taste testers also commented on there being some “pink” inside of the burger, reinforcing the fantasy of it being actual beef.
But let’s keep in mind how they achieve that pink look. The fake “blood” they add into the mix for that realistic look is made using genetically modified Leghemoglobin. And as we discussed in the linked article, human beings have never consumed Leghemoglobin as a food source before. Further, Impossible Foods has only done limited safety testing, while the FDA hasn’t approved any independent testing of this chemistry experiment. In fact, they went so far as to remind Impossible Foods that “they had not proven that Leghemoglobin is safe for human consumption.”
And yet somehow there will be Impossible Whoppers available all across the country beginning in a few days. What’s the real goal here? The company has made no secret of their intentions. They’re not just trying to break into the market and turn a profit. Their aim is to reduce meat consumption to save the planet. They’re trying to get rid of the cows. And here I stand like Demosthenes, shouting at the ocean with a mouth full of pebbles while everyone else just lets them get away with it.
Defend your right to real beef, people! Someone has to Keep Cows Great.