KANSAS CITY — It’s been a big year for plant-based meat alternatives, particularly for two companies manufacturing them: Beyond Meat, Inc. and Impossible Foods. Both plant protein producers have seen a surge in food service partnerships in 2019, with national restaurant chains, meal kit makers and food service providers adding their meatless offerings to menus. These innovations have only increased following both Beyond Meat’s and Impossible Foods’ reformulation of their flagship burger products.
In June, Beyond Meat unveiled a new formulation for its Beyond Burger. The new iteration of the plant-based patty features a vegetarian version of marbling made from coconut oil and cocoa butter. The marbling is designed to melt and tenderize like beef fat, Beyond Meat said. Made with a blend of pea, mung bean and rice proteins, the new Beyond Burger recipe provides a “meatier taste and texture that mimics the chew and juiciness of beef,” Beyond Meat said. It provides 20 grams of protein per 4-oz patty, offers a more neutral flavor and aroma profile, and includes a simplified ingredient list that excludes gluten, soy and G.M.O.s.
“The new Beyond Burger is the next step in our journey toward building meat directly from plants that delivers a consumer experience indistinguishable from its animal protein equivalent,” said Ethan Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Beyond Meat, when the new burger debuted.
The company also offers Beyond Breakfast Sausage, made with pea, mung bean, brown rice and sunflower seed protein. Beyond Meat’s portfolio of fresh and frozen plant-based proteins is sold at more than 30,000 retail and food service outlets worldwide.
The Beyond Burger was the second plant-based patty to get an update this year. In January, Impossible Foods debuted an upgraded recipe for its Impossible Burger in response to consumer demand for wheat- and gluten-free options.
The Impossible Burger 2.0 is made with soy protein rather than wheat protein and contains no gluten, animal hormones or antibiotics. And, while the original Impossible Burger was designed for flat-top cooking at restaurants, the new version may be steamed, seared or sizzled on slats over an open flame and also works in ground meat dishes such as meatballs and chilis, Impossible Foods said.
“The newest Impossible Burger delivers everything that matters to hard-core meat lovers, including taste, nutrition and versatility,” said Patrick Brown, M.D., founder and c.e.o. of Impossible Foods, at the time of the announcement. “This is the plant-based meat that will eliminate the need for animals in the food chain and make the global food system sustainable.”