Impossible Burger – The Vegie-Burger For Carnivores

Impossible Burger: Meatless Burgers As Good As The Real Thing!?

Impossible BurgerIn doing some research for a recent episode of the Citizens of Tech Podcast which I co-host with Ethan Banks I came upon a project / product called the Impossible Burger that really piqued my interest. Here’s the quick and dirty on it.

  • Plant based ground beef alternative
  • Developed by “Impossible Foods”
  • Founded by a Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown
  • This isn’t a just a pseudo-meat for vegetarians and vegans, either
  • Target market is hardcore carnivores
  • We’ve discussed a few times about the amount of water, electricity, and other resources required to meet the global demand for meat
  • This product requires far less resources, has a drastically shorter time-to-table and should become price competitive in the near future – hopefully even becoming cheaper than the real deal
  • Apparently, if the article is to believed, the taste is incredible
    • The author noted that it was a bit less flavorful than real beef, but had he not known that it wasn’t meat, he wouldn’t have noticed.
  • Looks pink and marbled uncooked, sizzles on the grill/pan, juicy and has real meaty flavor
  • The flavor secret: Heme
    • Heme is an iron-containing molecule in blood that carries oxygen
    • Legumes contain leghemoglobin which could have been used… buuuut…
    • Extracting that is expensive, time consuming and still unearths carbon, which is one of the main goals of finding an alternative product
  • Technology to the rescue!
    • They took the gene responsible for producing heme from the soybean and added it to yeast
    • Now they can make vats of the magic ingredient
    • One vat is enough to make 20,000 1/4lb (~110g) patties!!
  • It even smells right
    • Using gas chromatography mass spectrometry
    • Cooked meat gases were analyzed
    • Dozens of scents combine to smell like meat, which have been replicated
  • VS Beef:
    • More protein
    • Less fat
    • Fewer calories
    • No cholesterol
    • No animals were harmed in the making of this burger (religious & ethical objections quelled)
  • They’re not the only game in town: Beyond Meat’s “Beyond Burger” is targeted at very much the same goal.
    • Brown calls the “Beyond Burger” a “home run” and sees plenty of room in the market for both of these players – with Beyond Burger targeting grocery stores first and Impossible Foods going for restaurant chains first.

Impossible Burgers: Made Possible By Science

So what’s your take on this? Are you ready to sink your teeth into a nice, juicy Impossible Burger that is purported indistinguishable from the real thing? I think this is the first truly interesting “meat alternative” product that has made me sit up and say “woah, I really want to try that!”, how about you?

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