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Vegetarian Innovations Rock Food World

Oct 20, 2019 | Innovation

The Wall Street Journal reports that purveyors of meat-free burgers are struggling to meet demand from fast food chains. Both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are disrupting the food business, with their realistic looking fake meats, which even “bleed” like real beef.

The food mimicry business has attracted a stampede of players, including Good Catch and Sophie’s Kitchen, which offer “fish-free tuna” and “breaded vegan shrimp” that is “100% meat & seafood free.”

Beyond Meat creates its plant-based burgers with four main ingredients: water, pea protein isolate, canola oil, and refined coconut oil. These are said to provide the protein, heft, and moisture/juiciness of a real burger. In addition, they contain minimal amounts of other ingredients, such as potato starch, natural flavor, yeast extract, and beet juice extract.

Tasting Table reports that “when our editorial team tried the final product, the kitchen fell silent.” writes. “Nobody could believe how good it was. The texture may have been a little soft, but overall, everyone was seriously impressed.”

The Impossible Burger is made with wheat protein, potato protein, coconut oil, and Leghemoglobin, a genetically engineered derivative of soy that resembles heme, typically found in meat products. CookingLight found the Impossible Burger was “virtually flavorless, and though the texture was pretty close to meat, the flavor didn’t even compare.”

Another entry, Don Lee Farms Plant-Based Burger with pea protein, soy, oats, flaxseed, coconut oil, also wouldn’t trick anyone. CookingLight staffers rated it an average of three out of 10 in the categories of tasting like meat, looking like meat, and a texture resembling meat. But if you want a delicious veggie burger, Don Lee Farms earned an eight out of 10 in the category of “would eat again.”

Despite all the interest in vegetarian food substitutes, the most recent Gallup poll reports that ony 5% of Americans identify themselves as vegetarian or vegan.

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