Burgers are one of the most loved foods around the world, whether we eat them from well known chains, burger vans, high end restaurants or made at home, the search for the perfect burger is something we all do. The question however that is now being asked is, can a burger be produced that looks and tastes like a meat burger but is entirely made from plants?
The reasons that this may now see more desirable is that cattle farming can use a huge amount of land and water resources and also cattle produce large amount of green house gases, and there seems to be a move towards satisfying our want for meat and animal products with also looking at the environmental and health impacts.
So in Silicon Valley Impossible Foods (impossiblefoods.com) was born with the sole vision to produce products that have the texture, taste and cooking factors of meat but being made with plants. Their creator Patrick Brown has started with the burger, he has taken years to research what constitute perfect meat, how it binds together , how it cooks, how it looks and smells, what it eat likes. He has used this to look at ingredients found in nature such as potatoes, wheat and coconut oil, they also add another ingredient Heme which is present in meat muscle and is a flavour maker when you cook meat, this needed to be created using plants in order to fully get a meat flavor into the burger. Heme has had to be genetically produced using fermentation. However it does mean that the burger does look very much as if it is made from ground beef and although it cannot be bought in a shop yet, it is being served in restaurants and is getting positive feedback.
Here is a list of the burgers ingredients:-
Water, wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, Natural flavours, leghemoglobin (soy), yeast, salt, soy protein, konjac gum, xanthan gum, thiamin, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin B12.
It does have to be asked who plant made meat is being marketed to, is it for vegetarians that pine after a meat taste, people who would like to eat less meat without giving up the taste, people concerned with the environmental impact of meat production, or just the curious? Also perhaps what has not been tested is how possible this is to be mass produced and if it is, what impact this might have on beef production world wide.