There's a new burger in town: It sizzles, smells, feels, tastes, and even bleeds like a ground beef burger — without the meat. Think that will never happen? Impossible Foods, creators of the Impossible Burger, have already done it.
Former Stanford University biochemistry professor Patrick Brown founded Impossible Foods to create a meatless burger that wouldn't just attract meat lovers, but would be the best burger they've ever had.
According to Fast Company, Brown wanted to change the world by figuring out how to feed 10 billion people without raising livestock, which accounts for at least 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. He just had to create a product that could successfully simulate every sensory aspect of a ground beef burger, using proteins and nutrients from greens, seeds, and grains. From what we can tell, the burger certainly looks like the real thing.
But how did they get the burger to have that real-meat taste and look, using only plant sources? Brown told Fast Company:
The molecule responsible for the red look of animal meat also provides an important component of meat's taste. Our "plant blood" contains the same molecule, and is the main reason our plant meat tastes like animal meat when you cook it. The only difference is that we get our "blood" from plants instead of an animal.
We have invented a new process that replaces what an animal does to produce meat. Cows eat grass and turn those nutrients into muscle, fat, connective tissue — all the components that are later ground into hamburger. Animal meat is made of a complex combination of proteins, amino acids, and enzymes that give meat its unique characteristics and flavors. All of those ingredients originate with the plants the animals eat.
Don't call it a veggie burger, though. Brown wants to emphasize that the Impossible Burger is in its own category: a new, better type of meat. We'll be able to judge that for ourselves by late next year, when it will be sold in stores.
While we generally prefer real foods to fake meat, if the Impossible Burger can help reduce greenhouse gasses and make people less reliant on meat, we're all for it!
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