Impossible Foods came to CES in Las Vegas, Nevada this week to announce its new Impossible Burger 2.0.
The tech conference seems an unlikely place to unveil a food product and indeed, the Impossible Foods launch of its new plant-based formula is the first food product to launch in the show’s more than 60-year history.
The premise behind bringing its new and improved plant-based burger to a tech show is that humanity has relied on eating dead cows and other animals for much of its protein intake for the last 10,000 years. The Impossible Burger and its new and improved formulation seek to change all that, with a zero-cholesterol plant-based burger that not is not only better for our bodies and the planet, it also tastes better.
The Ultimate Test
That’s a tall order for a burger to deliver on, so we put it to the test in a few different formats to see if it was up to the task. First on the menu, Impossible sliders made with all the normal trimmings, but with the new Impossible Burger paddy instead of beef. Having been raised eating meat, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of burgers, including regular stops at our local burger joint, In & Out.
The Impossible burger carried the nice smoky flavor that really makes a barbecued burger, and even comes off the grill with the signature browning that is synonymous with browned or seared meat, thanks to the Maillard reaction the company has been able to achieve. Inside, the burger remains juicy and moist and is packed with flavors that have all the trappings of a beef paddy but with an addictively full flavor profile that takes it to a totally different level.
Before trying the Impossible Burger, I wasn’t sure what to expect and might have even been a bit worried about what it might taste like, but after eating a few burgers, I just can’t get them off my mind. They were delicious and I may have made multiple trips back to try the sliders to have one after the other ‘for science’…or something like that.
To demonstrate the flexibility of the new Impossible Burger, the chefs at the Border Grill showcased it in empanadas, (faux) meatballs, mini tacos, and even a tartare that was tasty, if you’re into that kind of thing. I suppose I’m too much of a texture guy to enjoy that, but it was packed with flavor.
A More Sustainable Burger
The Impossible Burger is not just an overdone plant-based burger substitute, it’s a revolution when it comes to the footprint of our food. Beef has the largest carbon and water use footprints of any other animal meat by a large margin. Between 2.3 and 7.4 kilograms of CO2 is generated in the production of a single beef based burger. The Impossible Burger stands in stark contrast, with its diminutive 0.8 kilogram CO2 emission footprint.
It’s also important to note that while the footprint of beef can be optimized to some extent, the massive animal still has to eat, drink, burp and fart (yeah, that’s a non-insignificant portion of their emissions) until it gets large enough to butcher. On the other hand, the constituents of the Impossible Burger can constantly be tuned, refined, and optimized not only for emissions, but for consumers who need more protein, lower fat, and other factors.
Land use is also vastly improved with the Impossible Burger, using just 4.5 square feet | .4 square meters for the crops used compared to 83 – 251 square feet | 7.7 – 23.3 square meters of land that is required for a single burger. Much of these improvements come from simply making use of the crops grown in the first place, without having to grow crops, feed them to an animal over many years, then eat the animal.
Ultimately, Impossible Foods is on a mission not just to make a niche product for the occasional indulgence, but to replace all animal-based meats on the planet by 2035. That’s a tall order, but one that’s worthy of the effort the Impossible Foods team is pouring into it, and the support of those who care about the health of their families and the planet.
Find a restaurant or retail location that’s serving up the Impossible Burger on its location finder to try one (or two or three) for yourself or head over to the Impossible information page to learn about what goes into making an Impossible Burger.
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