What Makes the Impossible™ Burger So Alluring?
While plant-based, or vegan, diets have been a way of eating for millions for years, they seem to having a moment. These days, there’s not a fast-food restaurant out there that doesn’t offer an Impossible™ burger or some similar alternative. Regardless of the brand and whether it’s a burger for lunch or a sausage for breakfast, you can find these meat alternatives all around. What’s the allure? And why is everyone going crazy for them?
Meat Alternatives: From There to Here
For people who are transitioning from a meat-based diet to vegetarianism or veganism, it can be a challenge to go cold turkey. After all, they probably liked the taste of meat. Enter meat alternatives. From black bean burgers to seitan and tempeh, there are plenty of plant options that simulate the meats you’ve known and loved. Of course, these plant-based cousins are arguably better for our health and the environment, but that’s another topic.
Meatier meat alternatives aren’t a new thing either. While there was a time 20+ ago when you had to shop at Whole Foods and specialty stores to find them, these plant-based “meats” have been a staple in regular grocery stores for at least a decade. Brands such as BOCA, Gardein, MorningStar Farms, and Quorn have been on the market for years and do a good job of simulating burgers, meatballs, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, and chicken. The main ingredients usually center around legumes and grains, notably TVP, which stands for textured vegetable protein. They are passable options, but there has always been something “not meat like” about them.
But then came the introduction of the Impossible™ burger.
What Is an Impossible™ Burger, Anyway?
Just as TVP is composed mostly of soy, so is the Impossible™ burger. According to the company’s website, the ingredients are primarily protein derived from soy and potatoes, a flavor molecule called heme that replicates a meat taste, coconut and sunflower oil, and binders. The ground beef version of the product can be used for burgers, sure, but it can also be shaped into anything you like. And that might be one of the biggest improvements, since most of the old-school meat alternatives come pre-shaped. While TVP crumbles have always been a thing, their structure isn’t such that you can make a meatball without some fancy handiwork.
Although their burger may be the product with which you’re most familiar, Impossible™ is branching out. First, there was the burger. Then the ground beef alternative. Now, they also offer sausage and pork.
How Impossible™ Is Winning in Today’s World
Since the world became overcome with fighting COVID-19, there have been plenty of people sharing the benefits of a plant-based diet for a healthy lifestyle. And it makes sense since those who are most affected by the coronavirus often have lifestyle-created health issues, which impede their immune systems and make them more susceptible.
But Impossible™ burger has something else going for it right now: the supply chain.
Modern Restaurant Magazine reported that COVID-19 might be the opportunity plant-based alternatives have been waiting for. With slaughterhouses dealing with sick employees and reduced hours, our global meat supply has been affected. That leaves an opening for meat alternatives such as Impossible™ burger to take center stage.
The magazine states that, in January of this year, less than 200 supermarkets carried the Impossible™ burger. Compare that to more than 3,000 outlets by May and you can see how popular the brand has become.
Have You Tried an Impossible™ Burger?
With availability in retail stores as well as fast-food and sit-down restaurants, the Impossible™ burger isn’t hard to find. From kids to adults, everyone is trying them — and most are enjoying the taste. Vegans, vegetarians, and diehard meat-and-potato lovers are eating these meat alternatives. Could this be a signal that plant-based lifestyles are on the rise? Possibly. But fewer animal products on the shelves, even in the short term, is a good thing for people and the planet alike.