It's hard to find plant-based burger patties that convincingly taste, let alone look, like meat. However, a vegan food company called Beyond Meat says it’s created a new substitute that can pass for the real thing. The “Beyond Burger” debuted this week at a Whole Foods in Boulder, Colorado, and is said to mimic the flavor and texture of beef. It even “bleeds” red juice when you bite into it, The New York Times reports.
Unlike many frozen veggie burgers, Beyond Burger patties are sold fresh in a refrigerated case, alongside traditional meat products. They’re made mostly from pea proteins, and are filled with sheets of “fats” made from canola, sunflower, and coconut oil to give them the chewy texture of real flesh, CNN reports. (The exact burger formula is a trade secret, and was developed by researchers including Stanford University structural biologist Joseph D. Puglisi, a scientific adviser to Beyond Meat.)
The Beyond Burger might fool your taste buds, but will it fool your other senses? It certainly tries to. Just like real burgers, Beyond Burger patties cook dark brown on the outside while staying pink on the inside. Pulverized beets give its center its red, oozing appearance, and the burger’s smell is even said to capture the aroma of beef.
Two 4-ounce Beyond Burger patties retail for $6. While the product is currently only available at the Whole Foods in Boulder, it will eventually be sold in other franchises.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the new burger sold out within an hour of its Boulder debut—a coup for Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown, an environmentalist who launched the eco-friendly food business in 2009.
Brown's start-up initially made a name for itself with its “Beyond Chicken” strips, which were described by one WIRED writer as “more like meat than anything I've ever seen that wasn't meat.” And WIRED wasn’t Beyond Meat’s only fan. Over the years, the company has attracted investors like Bill Gates and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and Google once even tried to buy it for around $300 million, Eater reports. Now, Beyond Meat has to convince the meat-loving masses that plant protein can be just as satisfying as bovine byproducts.
[h/t The New York Times]
Banner image courtesy of Beyond Meat.