Fake meat, or faux meat, is becoming the “in” thing in 2019 and we can’t blame people for jumping on the bandwagon either! Where previous fake meat products were obviously, well, fake meat in terms of appearance, texture and taste, many of these products released in recent years actually look, feel and taste like real meat.
We have to say that there are two fake meat – or vegan meat, as many people like to call it – products that are dominating the market. We’re talking about the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger patties that are taking the vegan world by storm.
Both Are Vegan Burgers
Both the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger are vegan. This means that neither of them contains any animal products and by-products, a piece of good news for people who want a change from meat products for any reason. Vegans are obviously happy about these products because they can then enjoy burgers without feeling guilty about it.
But there are a few significant differences between Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, vegan-wise. Impossible Foods, the manufacturer of Impossible Burger, has said that its heme protein has undergone animal testing procedures to test its safety. But Impossible Burger is certified kosher and halal.
Beyond Meat Burger has taken it a step further by asserting that all of its fake meat products have been certified as vegan by the Vegan Action Foundation. But it hasn’t said whether its products are kosher and/or halal or not.
If you’re not too finicky about the animal testing, then you may want to choose Impossible Burger over Beyond Burger because it’s both kosher and halal. Talk about covering your dietary bases.
The manufacturers of both products are upfront about the ingredients used. For Impossible Burger, the main ingredients include water, soy protein concentrate, coconut and sunflower oils, and soy leghemoglobin as well as several vitamins and minerals (E, B1, C, B5, B2, and B12). We can surmise that Impossible Foods adds these nutrients to make up for the less-than-nutritious quality of the soy protein concentrates.
For Beyond Burger, the main ingredients are water, pea protein isolate, refined coconut, sunflower and canola oils, and potato starch, among others. There are a few natural ingredients used for coloring, too, such as ascorbic acid, beet juice extract, and annatto.
Judging from these ingredients, both fake meat products are quite similar with the main exception being the ingredient used as a protein source. Impossible Meat uses soy protein while Beyond Burger uses pea protein.
What about the appearance? We have to say that Impossible Burger looks more like a 100% beef patty, thanks to its “bleeding” appearance when sliced in half. We weren’t able to tell which is which when we compared an Impossible Burger patty with a beef patty in a blind test!
Beyond Burger’s patty, in contrast, doesn’t look as convincing, especially since it has a noticeably grainy appearance.
Sliced in half, the Impossible Burger interior looked a lot more like a hamburger than I was expecting—a mass-produced burger, to be sure, but you wouldn’t be able to identify this as a non-meat product by its appearance.
Of course, the ultimate test of a vegan burger is in its taste – does it taste like meat from cows? Based on our taste tests, we have to say that the Impossible Burger actually tasted like meat!
And it didn’t just taste like meat from cows but, more importantly, it tasted delicious – juicy, succulent and flavorful, a perfectly-seasoned vegan burger that we wouldn’t hesitate to enjoy again and again. Plus, it also actually feels like meat in the mouth, the kind of meat that provides just the right balance between chewiness (i.e., heft) and melt-in-your-mouth juiciness.
If you aren’t vegan, you can compare the mouth-feel of the Impossible Burger and a 100% beef burger side-by-side. You may agree that, indeed, there’s little to no difference between the two, and it’s something that vegans who were previously meat eaters will find delightful.
We can’t say the same thing about Beyond Burger although it has its merits, too. Beyond Burger looks, well, like a veggie burger trying so hard – and failing at it, if you ask us – especially since its bun and vegetables aren’t doing much for it.
When it’s sliced in half, the Beyond Burger makes us nervous on many levels. The too-red color, which comes from the beet extract, suggests that the meat is still raw and nobody actually likes eating raw meat, fake or otherwise. The overall look also doesn’t suggest meat from cows so there’s always the knowledge that it’s a veggie burger.
On the plus side, nonetheless, we think that the Beyond Burger eating experience is more complex, flavor-wise, than that of Impossible Burger. You have to chew it longer so you can savor its more delicious flavors.
What’s the final verdict? We think that Impossible Burger takes the cake but that’s just our opinion.