From Burger King’s Impossible Whopper to McDonald’s Beyond Meat P.L.T., seemingly every other fast-food chain is tapping into the alt-meat industry. According to analysts at Barclays, the alt-meat industry is set to grow into a $140 Billion industry in the next 10 years taking a 10% slice of the meat industry as a whole.
So Is It Really a Good Burger?
While it’s undeniable that there are tons of positive environmental outcomes that can stem from companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, we take a closer look into the products churned out by the two leading alt-meat companies by applying the BUBBLE Approval Process. Below, we identify one of the main pillars to approval: clean label ingredients.
Impossible and Beyond Meat contain 21-22 ingredients mainly soy and pea protein isolate to mimic hearty meat while oils like coconut, sunflower, and expeller pressed canola oil mimic fat. Both also use a filler and binder called methylcellulose, an ingredient that doesn’t exactly fall under “clean label.” This additive contains no real nutritional value and is commonly found in processed foods.
Most of all, this lengthy ingredient list makes us wonder whether we're just better off decreasing our consumption of burgers altogether...
Photo: Impossible Foods
The production of both alt-meats are also kept behind closed doors, making these products even less transparent to the consumer. But one thing is for sure, the process to yield a product that mimics red meat so closely isn’t an easy feat and requires “hyperprocessing,” as pointed out by New York Times columnist, Mark Bittman.
Fake meat has been around a long time. But the new higher-tech vegan meats address one problem - torturing & killing animals - without addressing many others, like resource use and hyperprocessing. That's from me. And here's Danielle Laprise @heatedmag: https://t.co/oYO3YiScnk— Mark Bittman (@bittman) July 29, 2019
Despite their failure to pass our BUBBLE approval process, we see a lot of potential in this category. There’s definitely a lot of work to be done to fully gain the trust of consumers, Impossible Foods’ Chief Science Officer, Dr. David Lipman wrote that they would continue to improve its recipe's taste and nutritional value. Till then, get your burger fix with some of these BUBBLE Approved Veggie burgers: Vegan Burger Mix, Sweet Earth Foods, and Neat!