Is this "the future of meat"? A vegan burger that "bleeds" like real beef hit the market last month, selling out in just one hour at a Whole Foods in Colorado. Beyond Burger is being marketed as a sustainable, cruelty-free — that 'blood' is actually beet juice — plant-based product that mimics the taste and texture of a real burger, something that’s understandably grabbing a lot of attention (not to mention financial backing from Bill Gates).
Now that vegetarians, vegans, and curious omnivores have had a chance to fire up their frying pans and put Beyond Burger to the test, how does the meatless product — which is sold in the refrigerated case near the ground beef — stack up? Here now, a roundup of reviews both good and bad.
THE NUTRITION FACTOR
If you thought Beyond Burger might make a good low-fat alternative to beef burgers, well, think again: "According to the nutrition label on the back, the Beyond Burger has significantly more protein, sodium, calories, and fat compared to a normal burger," Tech Insider points out.
THE COOKING PROCESS
Cooking up this meatless patty sounds remarkably similar to that of cooking a real burger, with Tasting Table noting that "you can see fat visibly rendering in the pan," and Tech Insider reporting "the Beyond Burger sizzled like meat." It does not, however, have a beefy aroma.
But more importantly: How does it taste?
"When our editorial team tried the final product, the kitchen fell silent," Tasting Table writes. "Nobody could believe how good it was. The texture may have been a little soft, but overall, everyone was seriously impressed."
Tech Insider writes: "Overall, it was tasty and juicy, unlike most veggie burgers which can often taste closer to cardboard than beef."
"As one Whole Foods rep pointed out to me, 'it chews like a burger' too. He's not wrong. It's also not dry — it tastes undeniably fresh," says Thrillist.
Meanwhile, a vegan on Instagram says the meatless burger is so damn good, it brought him to tears:
A photo posted by Earl Skow (@earl_rotten) on
THE 'AUTHENTICITY' FACTOR
"Of all the alternate meat products on the market, Beyond Meat is hands down the best. ... Very very hard to tell the difference between this and real meat," says a Facebook commenter.
Thrillist weighs in: "This has the closest thing to a burger's mouthfeel of any veggie burger I've ever had. I remember when I first had a Boca Burger a billion years ago and thought, 'Wow, this almost is like a real burger!' I was stupid back then."
Tech Insider is slightly more skeptical: "In a blind taste test, it definitely wouldn't fool me as beef, but its texture was shockingly close — and it was even pink in the middle."
Overall, it seems the feedback on Beyond Burger is overwhelmingly good thus far, but that could change as the product reaches a wider audience. Curious? Beyond Meat says it's working on a roll-out to more stores ASAP, so keep your eyes peeled if the idea of a beet juice burger sounds appealing.