The newest item on the menu at the place known for flame-grilled burgers and the Whopper isn’t meat-based at all. Burger King is capitalizing on the growing trend toward plant-based alternatives with its Impossible Whopper, a meatless alternative that substitutes for the real thing.
The Impossible burger was a conversation topic in one of my classes and, surprisingly, all had tried one by the end of the session. I had a few vegetarians, a “flexitarian” who is trying to cut down on red meat but not cut it out, and a majority were carnivores. We had one who swore he will never again buy it, but most saw the Impossible Whopper as an acceptable alternative taste-wise, especially when loaded with a garden of vegetables between the buns. I tried one myself last weekend and was pleasantly surprised. It’s not the same as a beef patty but may be worth the overall tradeoff.
Plant-based alternatives are gaining in popularity because of the trend toward healthier lifestyles and the consciousness about the environmental impact of red meat. The CO2 emissions required to make an Impossible burger are 3.5 KG; it’s 30.6 for the beef patty. Water use is 106.8L vs. 850.1L and as areas of the country experience drought, this statistic will become more relevant. Plant-based meat has about the same calories as beef-based, but far less cholesterol (0 vs 80mg) and much more protein (19G vs. 2G), giving it another advantage.
The next time you’re out looking for a quick bite, you may want to experiment with plant-based patties. This market is exploding and you’ll want to have an opinion to contribute when the conversation inevitably comes up!
Source: Where’s the Beef? by Adele Peters in Fast Company, October 2019, p. 18