More companies are launching plant-based alternatives to meat. One of the recent ones include Beyond Meat, which is presenting what it calls the first plant-based burger in the world that “looks, cooks and tastes like ground beef.”
Beyond Meat will start selling “Beyond Burger” Monday, May 23 at a Whole Foods in Boulder, Colorado, the New York Times reported. It will be offered to customers alongside where beef, poultry, pork and lamb are located.
“This is what I had in mind when I started the company,” said Ethan Brown, who founded Beyond Meat back in 2009.
Each pack offers 20 grams (0.70 ounces) of plant protein, and is touted to be 100 percent vegan and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), soy or gluten content. A package of two 4-ounce Beyond Burgers will cost $5.99.
“It’s just meat from plants. That’s the only difference,” Brown noted of the meat alternative, which is made up of pea protein.
The company earlier sold the Beast Burger as frozen vegetarian burger patties, featured alongside products from MorningStar Farms and Amy’s. Its goal now, however, is to present “fresh” vegan patties sold in a refrigerated case together with meat-based burgers.
The objective came with a number of issues, including ensuring that the product would stay moist, pink and “bleeding” like traditional hamburgers. Beyond Meat then pulverized thousands of beets in the process and strived to make it smell just like cooked beef.
“Fat distribution” was another focus, according to Joseph Puglisi, Stanford professor and lead scientific adviser of Beyond Meat. Considering plants do not have ligaments, the company aimed to get fat distributed throughout patties, unlike in meat where it is scattered in sheets.
The company spent months convincing Whole Foods to sell its novel item in the meat section. It will eventually find its way in other Whole Foods stores on the East Coast, said Brown, adding that Beyond Burger would be on the new vegan lineup of the store’s café and can be ordered for takeout.
The future looks good for plant-based burgers, an industry that Brown estimated could expand to $30 billion a year. Other companies have pitched in, including Impossible Foods with its patty that turns from pink to brown – just like meat – when cooked.
Beyond Meat is backed by the likes of Bill Gates and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Millions of dollars went into developing the new burger.