Battle of the Burgers: Impossible Burger vs Beyond Burger vs Beef

How do the leading plant-based burgers stack up on taste, environment, and health?

Chana Davis, PhD

--

With the launch of Impossible Burger in Canada, Beyond burger has tough competition. Photo: White Spot

Next-generation veggie burgers are taking off in a big way, with Impossible burger and Beyond burger leading the pack. Both plant-based patties mimic the taste and texture of meat, and promise fewer downsides than the real deal.

Which burger is best?

Let’s see how the plant-based leaders compare to each other, and to beef, across taste, environment, and health.

Taste

Next-generation veggie burgers can be as indulgent as you want. (Beyond Meat)

Both Beyond and Impossible burgers are excellent ground beef imposters, offering similar taste, texture, and even a bit of sizzle. They are nothing like a traditional bean, rice or mushroom-based patty.

Which plant-based patty is the most realistic?

Most journalists (e.g. Today.com) have reported that Impossible has an edge when it comes to meatiness; my own informal testing of (non-vegan) family members reached the same conclusion.

“Impossible is the most like a beef burger by far.” New York Times

Soy crumbles mixed with heme looks bloody (Impossible Foods)

Impossible’s edge likely stems from its magic ingredient, heme. Heme is an iron-binding small molecule that is abundant in red meat — and in your own red blood cells, where it belongs to the hemoglobin complex. It plays a major role in the uniquely “meaty” taste and aroma of meat, and the way it transforms on the grill. Plants normally contain low levels of heme, but Impossible dials them up to levels that are on par with red meat.

While the Impossible burger may be meatier, that doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s first choice. Taste preferences are highly personal, and it’s not just meatiness that matters. In fact, some vegans find that the Impossible Burger tastes and feels too close for comfort. Furthermore, the experience of any burger depends in a big way on…

--

--

Chana Davis, PhD

Scientist (PhD Genetics @Stanford) * Mother * Passionate about science-based healthy choices * Lifelong learner * Founder: Fueled by Science