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Burger King is introducing a vegetarian patty from the start-up Impossible Foods (nytimes.com)
848 points by charliepark 54 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 637 comments



The Impossible Burger is the best veggie burger I've ever had.

I was a vegetarian for 10 years, and have now been a pescatarian for 8 years. It has been 18 years since I have had a proper cheeseburger, and since then I have had many thousands of veggie burgers. Cheeseburgers are probably my favorite food, and I haven't had one in 18 years. If someone told me that the world would end tomorrow, I would go out and eat a proper cheeseburger.

I have some experience in this area, is what I'm trying to say. The flavor and texture is the closest to actual meat I've ever had. And that, then, is the key for a lot of people: they don't want a veggie burger that simulates meat. Which is fine! I do, and I imagine the market for close-to-meat veggie burgers is bigger than obviously-not-meat veggie burgers.

Others in the thread have mentioned the Beyond Burger, which is also good. But the Impossible Burger, for me, is way better. I have had my Impossible Burgers at Bareburger. At home, I went with Morningstar Farm's Grillers Prime for a long time, but about a year ago they changed the recipe, and I did their black bean for a while. I have since discovered if I season the Griller's Prime while I'm frying it, it comes out much better.


As a vegetarian and former meat eater, I've had an "impossible taco" a couple of times. I don't want or crave meat, but they tasted very good. However, the texture totally weirded me out and both times I checked more than once to make sure they didn't accidentally serve me meat. I would wager a meat eater wouldn't know the difference if they were accidentally served these vegetarian tacos instead of beef.


I ordered an Impossible burger without knowing about the brand, I thought it was just what the restaurant called it. I never suspected a thing until I later read somewhere about the brand Impossible. So, in my case, you're right.


I eat meat and occasionally eat impossible burgers to reduce my meat consumption, and you can definitely tell. Just not as good.


Yeah, the place in Brixton that sells these has made a big deal every time I've eaten there about how hey, this doesn't have meat in it, and I'm like "I know, believe me, if you made burgers with meat that were like this I would never eat here again". It's passable, but it is not good. Like you I'm conscious of the need to consume less meat, and these burgers are a step, but let's hope this isn't the destination. They've taken the "veggie burger" from "actually I've changed my mind, I'm not hungry after all" to reluctant acceptance.


For me I wouldn't say they're as good as the burgers I would normally have on rare occasion but the ones I've had were better than the sort of burger I'd expect to get at Burger King, where they're being introduced.

As a heathen who likes to have things like jalapenos on my burger I think I'm quicker to embrace it than I would be if I liked my burgers straight.


[flagged]


Please don't take HN threads into flamewars, especially not on classic flamewar topics. This is also in the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. Would you please review and follow them? We ban accounts that won't.


You're attacking someone who has openly stated that they're conscious of the need to eat less meat and are actively seeking out a veggie burger that they actually like (and have finally found one that's tolerable to them).

I honestly think you're fighting the wrong battle here.


Someone who repeatedly tries veggie burgers is prejudiced against the concept? Or simply hasn’t found one they like?

Per the HN guidelines:

> Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.


[flagged]


Nothing they said indicated prejudice against vegetarians, but rather expressed a personal dislike for a kind of food.


Another vegetarian here who cannot tell the difference. I guess not having had meat in a few years helps make the effect realistic.


Have you had the new 2.0 version? Reviews say it's much better. They're still rolling it out to retailers.


Unsure. Last time had one was a few weeks ago. So maybe?


In a fast food environment, as a vegetarian, I don’t think I would order this unless there was an easy way for me to verify which burger I was eating.


I still would. It still signals to the restaurant that I want the non-meat option. If they slip up, oh well, and at that point it would be more wasteful for me to throw the "real" burger out.


Also as a vegetarian, there is a clear difference in the earlier veggie patties that Burger King served—Morning Star possibly, not these—and that of a regular whopper meat patty.


>I would wager a meat eater wouldn't know the difference

If this is true the processed food industry would no longer use real meat if the fake meat is cheaper.


At the moment the "fake meat" is much more expensive. But the price will come down as economies of scale kick in.

Incidentally, as a meat eater I'd stop eating it tomorrow if this was the case (bring on the healthy and eco-friendly bacon, sausages and steak!).

Substitutes like Quorn mince in a chili are already more than acceptable to me.


Vegns often fail to understand how important texture is to meat eaters when it comes to replicating a meat product so that it will appeal to meat eaters.

Additionally, a lot of vegns are also extremely health conscious, and so they tend to avoid a lot of unnecessary fat in their diet. A lot of chefs will say "fat is flavor," which is true, but what's also true is that fat conveys flavor. It sticks to surfaces in places that water doesn't and allows flavors to linger.

It's why the Impossible and Beyond Burgers are succeeding: they haven't lost sight of what makes a burger, a burger.


(off topic) Is there any reason you seem to have replaced the a in vegan with an asterisk? It happened twice so I am guessing it was not a typo? I am just curious? Is it like x86 or something?


The term seems to include both "vegetarian" and "vegan".


This guy gets it.


* is the wild card character so veg*n "matches" both "vegan" and "vegetarian." It's a short-hand way to say "vegetarian and/or vegan."


It's not very obvious that it's supposed to stand for more than one letter. Is it less confusing to do this way than to say "vegetarian" since that includes vegans?


While it's true that vegans are also vegetarians going strictly by dictionary definitions, without any other qualifier the term "vegetarian" is usually is taken to mean lacto-ovo vegetarian, at least in some circles.

Whether it's confusing or not or obvious or not, it was an extremely common term in the online vegetarian community I used to participate in around 15 years ago. Not trying to make a judgement on the term, just informing.

"Hackers" have their own version - *nix.


I thought it was. If it was just one letter it'd be veg?n or something. :)


Vegetarian does not include vegan. The set of things vegans don't eat is strictly larger than the set of things vegetatians don't eat.


The restrictions are a strict superset, so the group members are a strict subset.


Have you met any Vegans? There is no way they'd accept being lumped into a larger 'Vegetarian' demographic. One thing about Vegans is, is that they are not shy about telling you what they are.


This is just a made up stereotype. They only place you see this trend is in angsty teens or Reddit users who tend to be vocally hormonal about anything.

I have met far more people who tell me cliches about vegans than I have vegans who tell me they're vegan.


That's an old stereotype that is certainly not true for the vegans I know - which are pretty many by now, most of whom have gone vegan in the past few years.


There's still a lot of toxicity in the vegan community. Just yesterday I read an article about how a vegan started eating meat and fish. The vegan community found out and started bullying her for it. [0]

[0] https://www.thedailybeast.com/vegan-youtube-is-imploding-as-...


She was making all her money off videos about being a vegan. She deserved plenty of fish emojis for the deception. It wasn't about a diet change.


That's backlash against a fake youtube shill, not specifically about someone giving up a vegan diet.

Same reaction would occur for any vocal activist caught doing the antithesis of what they preach.


That might be true for a specific community of vegans that explicitly seek each other out (see sibling comment), but that's hardly relevant for considering whether to group them together with vegetarians when a comment applies to both of them on HN.


Most vegans will say "do whatever you have to do to live" and want a reduction in the consumption of animal products and harm of animals wherever possible. They will, for example, take vaccinations and medical treatments that have been derived from animal products if there are no alternatives.

So, if a person has honestly tried everything and they absolutely need to eat some meat and fish to be healthy, then most won't have an issue with it. There will always be crazy internet kooks though.


It's a good start, but it's so, so oily, even compared to a meat burger - and the oil seeps out all over the place. It's such a mess that I eat them with a fork.

I'd rather eat something like a black bean burger, but I also eat meat so I'm not looking for my vegetable burgers replicate the experience.


IMO it all comes down to the place that cooks it. I've had oily ones and I've had ones that were very meat like.


This is actually making it sound even more appealing to me. You can't beat a good greasy burger after a night out!


Yeah I agree, it's good but it's very clearly not a burger. I'm also not vegetarian, just eat meat only once a week or so.

(But then maybe I'd say the same thing about burger Kings beef burgers too haha)


It definitely depends on how it’s cooked. I’ve had quite a few of these and certain places tend to make them oily. I’ve found that to be the case when ordering a Beyond Meat patty as well from Carl’s Jr./Hardys even though they aren’t nearly as oily when I make them myself.


Addon: This youtube video posted by Burger King of "expletive-filled double-takes from actual diners informed that the Whoppers they just ate were made of plants..."

https://youtu.be/N9FED3jkNTo

... was linked from this Politico piece: "Inside the Race to Build the Burger of the Future."

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/04/01/meat-poli...


Isn't it illegal to sell people food that doesn't contain what is advertised?


Presumably the video is either faked or (more charitably) the customers were asked if they would like to try this new recipe. No lying going on in that last case.


Certainly viewed like it was made for /r/hailcorporate, complete with authentic f bombs and all.


It's an Impossible Burger, and left undersaid is that it's a fast-food burger. It's not an Impossible Steak or an Impossible Grill Burger. I just don't see the point, vs a high-protein high-fat patty made of bean or soy protein isolate that tastes good in it own non-fake-fast-good-meat-burger way. The only reason I am tempted to buy meat patties is that they are so much cheaper than Boca patties. An even-more-expensive patty that adds red liquid to simulate the look of heme is moving in the wrong direction.


> It's an Impossible Burger, and left undersaid is that it's a fast-food burger.

Since it's right up front in the headline that it's Burger King,I don't think the fast food part is “undersaid”.

> I just don't see the point, vs a high-protein high-fat patty made of bean or soy protein isolate that tastes good in it own non-fake-fast-good-meat-burger way.

If you don't see the point of fast food, you can, I hope, at least see that lots of people do.

And since there are people going off meat for environmental or ethical reasons, providing them an open which is both attractive in taste to their current palette and fitting with their existing lifestyle but for the change they are deliberately making seems to have obvious value.


Like you point out, it's maddening people are missing this all over. This isn't for vegetarians to eat something like meat again, it's for meat eaters to carry on not giving a shit about what they eat.

And it can't be cheaper than a real meat burger, because consumers will kill its adoption by calling it the "cheap" product. Regardless of merit or quality.


There have been studies on how people choose food, and there are two factors that dominate: taste and cost. If it's cheaper and tastes good, it wins.

(Source: the recent book Clean Meat.)


If I have to pay $2 more for a fake burger, I'm basically never going to buy it.


No it wouldn't kill the adoption. It would become practically mandatory for processed food and the only way to eat real meat would then be to buy it and prepare it yourself.


Which would be a good thing? Fast / processed food is pretty much the main market for low welfare factory farmed meat.


I ate lunch at a Founding Farmers (https://www.wearefoundingfarmers.com/about/story/) and we ordered a regular burger and an Impossible burger for the table. Everyone was not only surprised at how good the Impossible burger was, the majority actually preferred it.


I highly agree, it somehow just cooks better though and doesn't burn that easily.


I disagree. Momofuku Nishi in New York sometimes (weekend brunch only, I believe; the rest of the time it's a boring fast food version) serves a high-end version of the Impossible Burger for lunch, and it's decidely not a fast-food burger. It's the best veggie burger I've had the pleasure of eating.


I've had an impossible burger 1.0 and felt it was basically like a crappy but passable burger.

Waiting for the 2.0 one to hit places near me. Which version are you talking about?


I don't know. I ordered them at Bareburgers in Westchester, NY in the past year: https://www.bareburger.com


2.0 version was introduced at CES in January of this year.

If it was before January it was the 1.0 version, if it was after January it might have been either.


The 2.0 version is available at some restaurants in SF. I haven’t got to try it yet but was told about it.


I have found the 2.0 versions of both Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat burgers to be a decent improvement over their original versions.


Is the 2.0 version labeled as such? Or as "new and improved" ?


> If someone told me that the world would end tomorrow, I would go out and eat a proper cheeseburger.

Let me do you a favor: The world is going to end tomorrow!


I also had an Impossible Burger at a Pittsburgh chain Burgatory [1], I was extremely impressed and wouldn't noticed it was a veggie burger if I hadn't ordered it. [1] https://burgatorybar.com/


I had the Impossible Burger in a few places.

About six months ago I had it in a vegan place near Cape Canaveral, and I was in disbelief it wasn't a meat burger. I asked the waiter twice.

It's been 15+ years since I last ate meat (and even more, red meat), and I hate the taste.

For anyone vegan or vegetarian who hates the taste of meat and is afraid to try it, I recommend giving a try even though it's supposed to taste like meat as it might feel different. I believe the preparation makes it very different because all other times (10+?) I had it (both 1.0 and 2.0), I enjoyed (specially at Umami Burger in Anaheim). The only reason I haven't had it more is that I don't live in the U.S., and I prefer the Portobello mushroom patty at Umami.


Interesting. I really like the Beyond Burger (and their sausage) but the one time I had the Impossible Burger, it tasted like a pretty generic veggie burger. Maybe the restaurant ran out and substituted.


Yeah I tried the Impossible 1.0 a few weeks ago in Hong Kong, and the Beyond a few days ago in Melbourne and found the Beyond much nicer. With that said, there is a lot more to burgers than just the patties so it could just be differences between restaurants.

I honestly think if the Beyond wasn't more expensive than a normal patty, I would probably order it all the time (and I am very much a meat eater)

I'm keen to try the Impossible 2.0 and the Beyond sausages.


This is awesome that you have managed to stay vegetarian for 10 years. I have heard the term Pescatarian before but didn't quiet understand it. Is that when you eat fish + veggies?



This is great news. I’m looking forward to trying it out. Thanks for your review.


what's your motivation for eating fish/vegetarian? it sounds like you really want meat and your current situation is a kind of sacrifice?


I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons; I trust it's not hard to imagine or look up what those reasons are. At the time, I felt strongly about this. Over the years, I discovered I felt less strongly about it, but it was a deeply ingrained habit by that point. I also discovered that even though I no longer carried a deep moral imperative to not eat meat, I still carried a deep personal connection to the person I was when I did carry that imperative.

I eventually decided I didn't care about fish that much - but I decided that I would eventually eat fish again years before I finally did. Yes, it's a compromise of my original ethical judgement, but it's one I can live with.


I stay pesca for ease of diet. Even in nowhere, US you can walk into a diner and get a fish sandwich.

"how often are you in nowhere, US?"

and that's about how often I eat fish. To me it's just a less bad choice, which in my brain is still a net positive gain on the meal.


The irony is that most people have given up on Burger King because of the poor dietary selection. In the breakfast menu, there is almost nothing to eat that is not high cholesterol and/or fattening. If Burger King manages to leverage this new item effectively, they could assist in saving the lives of the same people that they are helping to make piss poor life choices with.


The impossible burger isn't really noticably healthier than a beef burger. It still has roughly the same calories, saturated fats and so on.

Anectodally, it does make you feel slightly less bloated, though.


> The irony is that most people have given up on Burger King because of the poor dietary selection.

[citation needed]


It's quite clear the OP is speaking in an anecdotal manner.

The use of [citation needed] is one of the most infuriating, passive-aggressive internet trends perpetrated by people who clearly don't understand the point of citations [1].

[1] citation not required


> It's quite clear the OP is speaking in an anecdotal manner.

No, it wasn't; OP made a universal claim (“most people” not “most people I know”), and a claim of irony which makes more sense with a real geerality.

I actually assumed (and, in fact, still assume despite your interjection) that the not_a_pizza had some basis for making that general claim, and merely omitted it, perhaps because they assumed others were familiar with it.


I agree, but there are less snarky ways to say that.


Why don't you think that fish is meat?


"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."

"Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Why was this posted? I don't think there's anything wrong with this question.


Because it's a classic flamewar topic which leads away from the specifics of this story and towards generic hostilities; and because taking a stronger interpretation of the comment would have made the question unnecessary—i.e. scott_s is probably just as aware as the rest of us that fish are animals and their flesh is in that sense meat, and therefore he was probably just not using the word 'meat' in that sense.

scott_s replied in an evenhanded way, but many (maybe most) commenters in his position would have taken the question as hostile and responded in kind.


How could I better ask the question? I'm genuinely confused since they poster talks about not eating "meat" but eats fish, which culturally for me (Buddhist and Hindu) are non-veg


I don't think the poster ever actually said that fish isn't meat, and I guess a lot of people are interpreting your question as a hostile challenge of the idea of pescatarianism (along the lines of "Why don't you think that cheeseburgers are murder?").

If you are struggling to understand pescatarianism as an idea, my perspective is that flexitarianism, pescatarianism, vegetarianism, and flexiveganism are all compromise diets that get some but not all environmental and ethical benefits of veganism. Different people have different levels of commitment and make different tradeoffs in their life choices. Whether that's "the only meat I eat is fish" or "I eat fish but not meat" is just a matter of definitions.

In terms of the English word "meat", there is certainly some ambiguity. At least as I know the term, it feels like a stretch (but maybe technically correct) to count fish as meat. I've had people suggest sushi when I say that I'm vegetarian, unaware that vegetarians don't eat fish. If you google for the Food Pyramid, most diagrams call out meat and fish as different things. "Vegetarian" almost always doesn't allow fish, but "meat" just isn't a very precise word.


Just adding the information contained in your second sentence here would have been enough to ask the question better. This kind of point is one that people typically get very hostile about, very quickly, in internet discussions, so if you're going to go there, you need to differentiate your comment from flamebait.

Also, scott_s's original comment didn't say that fish isn't meat, or even imply that. In English the word "meat" didn't traditionally include fish, and that usage is more than enough to cover what he probably meant. Taking the strongest plausible interpretation, as the guidelines request, makes the question unnecessary.


You're getting downvoted, but I don't think everyone realizes this can be a genuine point of confusion.

"Meat", like many words, has multiple senses. One of them is the flesh of any animal. Another is the flesh of a mammal, which would exclude fish (and probably poultry).

The second definition isn't used as often, but you will find it many dictionaries, and some people do use the word in that way and treat meat / poultry / fish as disjoint sets. For example, the classic book "Joy of Cooking" has chapters titled "Shellfish", "Fish", "Poultry and Wildfowl", "Meat" (pork, beef, lamb), and "Game". (Actually, I guess "Joy of Cooking" is being even more specific and taking "meat" to mean domesticated mammal flesh, because there are some mammals in the "Game" chapter.)


This question could be posed better, but it does deserve an answer. "Meat" does not have a precise biological meaning; its meaning is largely cultural. Some people distinguish "red meat" and "white meat"; others understand meat as separate from poultry, and seafood (is fish seafood? same story). In fact, in some languages the word for "meat" is more specific to mammal meat - e.g. french, "viande" vs "volaille" - in others less so: in Japanese, 魚 (fish) is definitely not 肉 (meat) but you eat 牛肉 (cow-meat) and 鳥肉 (bird-meat).

The vocabulary of cooking is full of these sort of things (legumes/vegetables/fruits/...is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? is a potato a vegetable?)


Aha, thank you for the etymological details!


I feel there's a different way to ask this question and potentially get a better answer.


I don't think there's anything wrong with this question. What's a better way to ask?


The OP never said fish wasnt meat, so it seems like it could be jab. I can't tell if it was, and I have no real stake in the argument, but when I read the question I felt it could be a bit too open to be interpreted as hostile.


It is, if you define it that way. If my text bothers you because I did not consider fish to be meat, then just replace "meat" with "beef."


I don't know if they edited their comment or not, but it doesn't say anything like that.


Not speaking for the OP, but Catholics don’t consider fish or seafood to be meat from a religious perspective when practicing abstinence every Friday (and Ash Wednesday) during Lent.


If you really like cheeseburgers that much how about just eating fewer? :)

Does it have to be an all or nothing experience?


If you are vego for ethical reasons then yes, every time its bad.


Every time you press the accelerator pedal on your car you are spewing CO2 into the atmosphere. Every time is bad.

That does not mean that we stop driving. We drive less.


These kinds of comparisons just don’t work and they come off as being an odd sort of defensive reply. Not to mention it’s a false equivalence. In the end though it’s a personal choice that really doesn’t need to be criticized, whether it is based on preference or ethical beliefs.


That's not fundamentally ethical at scale, it's a systems problem. "Do the least damage" is the interim fix while the industry decarbonizes.

Not eating cute critters is fundamentally ethical.


If you consider it wrong to torture and kill animals for your pleasure, as many vegans and vegetarians do, then it's unlikely that you think that occasionally torturing and killing animals, and eating their dead bodies, is either moral or appetising.


If it's been 18 years since you had a burger, I'm not sure you're the expert on what's closest to meat.


You have to consider the set of alternative available to the person.

If you're considering people who do eat meat, and want something that is close-enough to meat as a substitute, then yes, I am not a good judge of that. But if you're considering people who do not eat meat, and want something that's as close as they can get of things that are not meat, then I think I am an expert since over the past 18 years I have had many different varieties of that thing.


Why is this getting downvoted?


Vegans are an opinionated bunch.


The most interesting thing about this particular announcement is that it may normalize plant-derived meat-substitutes among the typical fast-food-burger eating population, and not just the mostly-vegetarian folks (like myself) who will spend $10 on an Impossible Burger at a fancy sports bar.

Within a decade this might just be normalized, and nobody will make much of it.


No, the implications are even bigger than that, because the normalization and adoption will drive costs down. And when meat-substitute burgers are cheaper than meat burgers, and taste as good, they will become the default, and that is going to make a huge dent in the animal industry, which is all sorts of awesome, because the animal industry is all sorts of terrible.

Right now, I'm seeing Beyond and Impossible substitutes at burger restaurants, and it always comes with a couple of dollars surcharge, because it is more expensive. Imagine the day when the meat patty comes with a surcharge, because the substitute is cheaper!

I am always soapboxing about this, but the only way we can meaningfully address environmental or ethical concerns, is by doing it through the economy. The "best" choice has to also be the cheapest choice, because then people will as if by magic choose that most of the time, unlike when you only have people's conscience to motivate them, then the wallet still rules most of the time.


You forget that in America, we'll just bail the farmers out and start shoveling subsidized overproduced meat everywhere we can.


Farmers in Europe and Canada are also heavily subsidized.


Food security. Anywhere paying attention to history knows that you can get starved into submission, so if you don't have food security any money you spent on walls, navies, missile silos etcetera was pointless. So it makes good public policy sense to subsidize local food production and/or have high tariffs on imported food.

In WWII Britain came closest to having to surrender due to food shortages. It didn't have then (and doesn't have now) enough food production to feed everybody, it relies on imports, and during a war that gets tricky. It got down to, I think, one week's rations on hand. If the U-boats had been just a little bit luckier for just another couple of weeks the British government anticipated uncontrollably levels of public disorder and then one way or another surrender.


Not to dispute your main point, but in Japan more than 1 million people died of starvation after the US blockades in WWII. It's the reason it is illegal to import staple foods into Japan to this day. The question of whether or not Japan would have surrendered without nuclear attacks is still very much an open one. It's really hard to say what the Japanese government was thinking at the time, but I can say that my mother in law told me that the only reason she survived is because her uncle had a garden and had a few sweet potatoes. Most people that were alive during the war suffers still from ill health as a result of malnutrition at the time. It has given me considerable cause to re-evaluate things I thought I knew.


I'm not sure, but in re-reading what I posted it occurs to me that it's possible to read it as suggesting nowhere else starved (or not as badly as Britain) whereas what I was intending was that Britain's big threat turned out not to be aerial bombardment, rocket attack, or straight-up beach invasion but simply starvation. Invading Britain proved completely impractical, bombing it into submission was too costly to be continued, but starving it was close to working.

Culture varies, and it seems unlikely that the British "stiff upper lip" would have carried on through starvation rations as the Japanese did. Certainly the government of the day is recorded as having expected to be overthrown once the reality of starvation was felt by the common people, unless the next shipments of food arrived (which they did).


Farming is subsidized pretty much everywhere in the developed world because without it we'd all starve to death.


That cuts both ways. Corn farmers get massive subsidies which amount to subsidies for soy as well due to the popularity of corn/soy rotation (soy, being a legume, has nitrogen fixation properties that improves soil quality.)


There aren't really "both ways" in the sense that the subsidy is equivalent between meat and other uses.

97% of soy meal (itself 80% of the soybean mass) produced in the US is used to feed animals for meat, not for making soy-based meat substitutes:

https://ncsoy.org/media-resources/uses-of-soybeans/


Cheap soybeans makes meat cheaper, but the production of meat is inherently inefficient. If the production of meat substitutes from soy could be made more efficient than the production of meat from soy, then de facto soy subsidies would disincentivize the consumption of meat.


> Cheap soybeans makes meat cheaper, but the production of meat is inherently inefficient.

I think we agree on this.

> If the production of meat substitutes from soy could be made more efficient than the production of meat from soy

It already is far cheaper from an energy-input (hence cost) and carbon-footprint perspective. https://impossiblefoods.app.box.com/s/edwcfyvojzsvzn5d633dxt...

That's why big chains like Burger King are moving to offer something in the space, not out of some ethical obligation about climate change or animal welfare.

The difference is that Impossible and its competitors are making a product competitive with real meat, with nearly the same flavor and texture properties. That's the game changer as it opens a huge market that eschew traditional veggie burgers.


I wouldn't say it's inherently inefficient. It's certainly inefficient to devote the products of cropland to raising animals. But there's a lot of scrub land out there that isn't suitable to intensive farming but where you can still graze cows.

So from an efficiency perspective we wouldn't want to entirely eliminate meat production, just drastically curtail it. But from an animal suffering perspective and a "methane is bad" perspective maybe we do want to eliminate it.


I wouldn't say subsidies would disincentivize meat. I would say they would incentivize both meat substitutes and meat, in an equally proportional amount.


They distort the prices of both soy products and meat, but not by equal proportions - the reduction depends on the distribution of cost components.

Say it takes 50 cents' worth of soy and 50 cents' worth of other expenses to produce $1 worth of beef, and it takes 90 cents' worth of soy and 10 cents' worth of other expenses to produce $1 worth of meat substitute. If the effective price of soy falls by 10% due to subsidies (and other costs remain the same), the cost of beef will fall by 5%, while the cost of meat substitute will fall by 9%.


The economics are skewed in the opposite direction, though. It takes many times more soy, water, and energy to produce $1 of beef vs $1 of substitute, because most of the soy you feed the cow is lost to heat and non-edible cow parts.

Once R&D costs of the meat substitute are accounted for, the marginal cost of production is lower. So at the same or slightly lower retail price than meat, an equivalent substitute's profit margin will be huge compared to meat. That's what these firms are after.

And in the long run, industrial scale meat production will take a big hit.


From what I remember reading a while back, 70% of corn in the US goes to animal feed thus making meat a very subsidized industry transitively. Entire US states' agricultural product won't be needed and can be shifted over to other crops, returned to a more natural state, or used for plant based carbon capture. The best industry has some serious competition which will have massive effects up and down the supply chain.


Since you're on your soap box i'll add a talking point.

The number one reason for deforestation in the Amazon is to provide space and resources to farm cattle for beef. My point is, switching to a non animal based burger has larger implications that the overall health of the people eating the burger.


> and taste as good [as meat burgers]

This is a wonderful goal, but I highly doubt this will happen in my lifetime.


I for one welcome the looming cow genocide.

TOGoS 54 days ago [flagged]

> the only way we can meaningfully address environmental or ethical concerns, is by doing it through the economy.

Well, that or by abolishing capitalism. Which we'll have to do anyway, given that "there's no competitive advantage in not wrecking the planet."

But yeah if we can get everyone to switch to Impossible burgers that could definitely buy us some time. :)


Or you can tax the negative externalities to account for environmental damage and still allow people to be free.


Nothing about abolishing capitalism implies that people will not be free. Arguably they could be more free. Not every socialist state needs to (or should) emulate the USSR.

You should try reading The Conquest of Bread.


Capitalism means free enterprise. It means being able to start a business. It means being able to compete with someone if you think you can do a better job. It means being able to choose from multiple options as a customer.

If it means something else to you, I'm sorry about that.

erulabs 54 days ago [flagged]

Everything about abolishing capitalism implies that people will be "less free". All capitalism means is ownership and voluntary exchange. Not allowing ownership or making exchange involuntary can _only_ be accomplished via coercion. I want to be very clear - this is not a matter of opinion but of tautology - capitalism requires freedom and freedom implies capitalism. In no way is this countered by comparing hypothetical systems with the USSR.


While I support the argument you are trying to make, I want to disagree slightly. Capitalism does not require freedom, and China is proof of that. But we have not seen freedom without capitalism and I do feel like the inverse relation is true: freedom requires capitalism.

(Feel free to replace capitalism with free enterprise if you don't like the term "capital".)


This is absolutely not true, and is a fundamental misunderstanding of socialist systems of government. There are even variants of socialism that embrace markets and competition, and almost all allow ownership of _personal_ means of production... That is, acquiring enough capital to run a personal business. What is not allowed is owning collective means of production, and the consequential rent-seeking and extraction of surplus value that business owners and landlords engage in.

Your comment is obviously propaganda, so I doubt this will help, but I strongly recommend reading some anarchist literature before making claims like that. The Conquest of Bread is a good starting point, but a bit outdated at this point.

erulabs 54 days ago [flagged]

You're confusing two topics. I'm not talking about "socialism", and I don't want to get into definitions of that word, and frankly I don't disagree with anything you've said at all regarding socialism. However, I wasn't talking about socialism. Rather, the OC said "abolishing capitalism". Abolishing capitalism _means the same thing_ as abolishing voluntary activity. In order words, limiting individual freedom. So there is no way to construct "abolishing capitalism" as to not meant "violent coercion".

None of this has anything to do with socialism or social programs or anything like that.

I've read plenty of anarchist literature, and studied economics extensively. I would, ironically, label myself something of an anarchist as well.

You've called my individual thoughts, constructed by myself alone, after careful and considerable study, propaganda. You're confusing my tautological deduction for ideology. That's fine, but golly does it make me sad. You're seeing what you want to see, my friend.

Edit: Also, none of this even makes a value judgement about the worthiness of abolishing capitalism or infringing on personal freedoms. Perhaps it's a worthwhile calculation? That's not an opinion I'm bringing up - but the word "capitalism" has a simple meaning: trade and property. Abolishing the ability of humans to own things or do certain categories of things _is exactly the definition of limiting freedom_. Socialist philosophers are not unaware of this and their entire philosophy is built upon the calculation of limited personal freedoms to enable potentially greater net happiness. This is not a controversial opinion, is my point.


[flagged]

erulabs 54 days ago [flagged]

> bootlicking drivel

Who's boots? What are you talking about? I didn't make a single value judgement in favor of one system or the other!

Be civil!

> abolishing capitalism in favour of socialism

> There are even variants of socialism that embrace markets and competition, and almost all allow ownership of _personal_ means of production...

Socialism and capitalism are not opposite ends of a yardstick. I am _not talking about socialism_. Limiting the ability to own property or trade _is the same thing_ as limiting freedom. One has literally limited the abilities of another. These are not opinions, but rather _pure deduction lead to a non-controversial point_. You can keep insulting me or you can engage. Have a good day!


The boots of the oppressive global capital class.

> I didn't make a single value judgement in favor of one system or the other!

You asserted that the abolition of capitalism would result in depravation of freedom.

That is a value judgement.

It is also not true. It is a rephrasing of a line that anti-socialsts have been using for over 100 years. Therefore, propaganda.

I don't care that you're trying to hide the structural violence of capitalism under a veil of civility.

Retric 54 days ago [flagged]

Edit: Capitalism is a far more complex system than simple private ownership and trade. A critical feature is artificially reduced liability. Which goes beyond simple freedom and gets into practical considerations.

The fact that capital ownership in a cooperation does not expose an individual to legal liability for every action of that corporation is what let’s you have capital markets. A banker may loan a car dealership money with minimal concern beyond the risk of that money.

Without that protection the engine of capitalism breaks down even with private property rights. But, even simply applying strict liability to management would cause significant breakdowns. Picture the CEO of Five Guys going to prison if even a single person got food poisoning via negligence. Are they going to try to expand past a single burger joint?

PS: In practice this seems to work well. But, the ability to have legally enforceable contracts etc goes beyond simple trade. After all people would buy and sell used goods in socialist countries, but such trade did not make them capitalist countries.


Yep. I'm not at all a vegetarian, but I will definitely try it, and if it's as good as they say, I see no reason to not prefer it. There's a small subset of the population for whom meat consumption is some kind of cultural statement, but most really only just care about taste, I think. If the same taste can be had in a healthier package and without killing anything, it's a win-win.


> If the same taste can be had in a healthier package and without killing anything, it's a win-win.

Most people that are vegan or vegetarian choose that, because the ethics part of eating meat is the most important factor for them, with price and taste and nutrition trailing that.

And then a lot of those people make the assumption that everyone who isn't vegan absolutely doesn't care about the ethics of it. But that is simply not true. A lot of people, myself included, care about the ethics, it's just that we care more about taste and cost and nutrition. I love eating a good burger, or a good steak. I'm sorry a cow had to die, but I'm not sorry enough to stop doing it.

But give me an alternative that is just as good, but where cows don't have to die, and I'll switch in a heartbeat.


You can't "care about ethics" if you care about something like taste more. That's like saying you care about the ethics of not stealing, but you care about having an expensive stolen thing more. You just don't care about the ethics.


Thank you for illustrating my point by claiming that if ethics aren't the top overriding priority in your decision, you somehow don't care about ethics at all. That is exactly the attitude that I find frustrating when talking to certain vegans and vegetarians.

Imagine the following scenario: I have a choice between two burgers. They both taste the same and cost the same, but the first one requires a cow to die, and the second one doesn't.

If I don't care about ethics, then I would choose randomly between the two, because that's not a deciding factor.

But if I consistently choose the second one, then I obviously care about ethics, it is a deciding factor for me. It's just not the most important deciding factor, but it's still there. Why does it have to be binary? Why does it have to be all-or-nothing for you?

I obviously might not care as much as you do about it, but you claiming that I don't care about it at all is incredibly offensive.


How does your model of metaethics account for guilt then? I can appreciate your sentiment, I'm a pescatarian for ethical reasons, but I still believe your claim to be untrue.


> There's a small subset of the population for whom meat consumption is some kind of cultural statement

There are actors in the cultural discourse that are already trying to make large scale meat consumption a cultural authenticity issue, especially if you read some of the nativist criticism of the Green New Deal [1]

I don't think that line of manipulation will go away, as it always will have some cultural currency with a subset of the population, but eventually the economics of the meat substitutes will win out, and "real meat" will become more of a special occasion thing, like truffles.

1. https://www.eater.com/2019/3/1/18246220/aoc-green-deal-burge...


There are people out there "rolling coal", which is such absolute insanity that I lack words, so of course there will be a cultural backlash to meat substitutes as well.


> There's a small subset of the population for whom meat consumption is some kind of cultural statement

If we're talking about the global population I'd say it's more than a small subset and it's not a cultural "statement", it's just culture.

People in Mexico aren't going to eat fake lengua or carnitas. Doro wat with fake chicken? Anything grilled or bbq'd. Sashimi, sushi...

People have been eating some of this stuff for hundreds if not thousands of years. I think it's a very Americentric view to suggest that people are going to stop eating their traditional foods in favor of fake meat.

This might be the case to some degree in Western first world countries but even there, I don't see people in the mid-west giving up real steak anytime soon.


> People in Mexico aren't going to eat fake lengua or carnitas. Doro wat with fake chicken? Anything grilled or bbq'd. Sashimi, sushi...

It's not an all-or-nothing market. There will always be a demand for those things. But in the end what is used for what will be dictated by the economics, as cuisine always has been, even in traditional culture. Eating things like lengua, or tripe and other off-cuts of meat were largely about not wasting meat when resources were scarce, not about identity politics.

Take chorizo ... turns out Mexico already has a vegetarian version of this most culturally sacred of foods: https://www.mexgrocer.com/74562-06205.html

I was offered it with eggs ("huevos con soyrizo") at a breakfast restaurant in Baja ... 17 years ago.

There are plenty of dishes that use ground meat or meat that has been spiced or stewed to the point that the taste difference with regular meat is marginal.

> This might be the case to some degree in Western first world countries but even there, I don't see people in the mid-west giving up real steak anytime soon.

They don't have to. Real meat from slaughtered animals isn't going away, but it's use cases will be more limited to steaks, etc, which aren't "everyday" foods anyways.

And a good amount of Mexico's population is urban and first world, just like their counterparts in other countries. From what I can tell, urban Mexico has as liberal a palate as any other urban part of the world, be that NYC or London.


Yes, but very few mid-westerners eat steak everyday. Ground beef will get eaten more often because it is less expensive. If and when fake meat becomes less expensive than the real thing people in Mexico may very well eat fake whatever because at the end of the day it sets a lower price floor for food options.


I'm not an American myself, but I was talking specifically about US, since that is the context of the story.

But also, if it's cheaper? People will eat it for sure regardless of the culture.

Side note: a lot of those things that are "hundreds if not thousands of years" are actually a lot more recent if you look at them. It's pretty common for cultures to reuse the name of some old dish for a new one that becomes more common, and is similar in some way - not even necessarily in terms of how it tastes, but e.g. in its purpose. In other cases, you can trace a direct connection to some much older recipe, but new additions have mutated it beyond all recognition. Just look at what the introduction of potato did to traditional recipes in Europe.


"Healthier" is speculative at best. Often there's less fat than would occur in natural highly available protein sources. And added fats definitely have a different nutritional profile. The amino/protein profile is also going to skew, and there are other issues as well.

Soy and legumes are pretty common allergens for people, and the effects mild enough early in life that some may not realize it's actually legumes (mostly soy) that is the problem. I got used to the side effects and was only at 42 when it started to get bad enough that I found out via elimination diet.


At least the 1.0 version was very expensive. Roughly the same mass would cost twice as much. That would be one reason not to prefer it.


I agree, this could be big. The health implications could be a driver of this, consider how many people there are with high cholesterol that should be eating less beef. And then think about how many health driven alternative products there are, eg diet soda, margarine, alt-milks, etc that really can take off in the mainstream once big budget marketing gets behind it.


There is no correlation to dietary cholesterol and blood serum cholesterol. It was a misdirection bought and paid for by the sugar industry. The same goes for saturated fats (more so the vegan religion than big sugar).

As to margerine, it is emphatically NOT better for you than real butter or lard/tallow. Seed oils are probably third in line behind sugar and grains as the biggest causes of human dysfunction.


The cholesterol in = blood cholesterol fallacy is one of the greatest nutrition crimes in history. Low fat/high carb diets are the primary culprit, along with genetics. Replacing meat and dairy with vegetables may have environmental and ethical benefits, but it doesn't have health benefits.


It's true that diets with high added / refined sugar are unhealthy. But diets with lots of beef and dairy and low on vegetable fiber are also unhealthy.

The link between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol is much weaker than previously hypothesized, that's true, but there's ample evidence of the superiority of a vegetable rich diet.

The medical and scientific consensus is still that diets high in saturated fats - especially animal fats - as well as trans fats increase your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. Other lifestyle risk factors are obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and diabetes.


> " But diets with lots of beef and dairy and low on vegetable fiber are also unhealthy."

Not many people can afford the grocery bill of an all dairy/beef diet. Everybody I've ever met who does keto consumes more vegetable fiber than the average american many times over, because without grain as a filler and a wallet deep enough to gorge yourself on beef and cheese all day long, fibrous vegetables are the obvious solution.


So heart disease is the #1 killer because people don't eat enough meat? This is nothing but a conspiracy theory that somehow became popular in HN. Mainstream science continues to support that a diet high in whole plants is the best way to prevent heart disease.


Not because people don't eat enough meat. Because people eat too much sugar, and refined carbs (pasta, flour) are effectively sugar. That's where body fat and cholesterol come from. Meat is largely neutral in this regard. Cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver. Only a trivial amount of dietary cholesterol becomes cholesterol in your body. When people replace meat with low-fat, high-carb, vegetable-derived alternatives, they're consuming a diet that is far worse than a meat-heavy diet. Whole vegetables are good.


To those downvoting the above comment... The following video is a bit long, but does go over quite a bit of the misdirection/misinformation from the large pharma and agriculture industries. A lot of this has been relatively well documented.

There has never been any reliable study or controlled experiment indicating that dietary cholesterol or saturated fat are the causes of anything negative. Sugar and refined grains have a MUCH higher correlation (higher than even early smoking studies). High fructose intake in particular has been a leading issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=jcnd3usdNxo


I think this is a better description of the current understanding of the role of saturated fat: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-abo...

Is saturated fat bad for you? A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body. For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day.

A handful of recent reports have muddied the link between saturated fat and heart disease. One meta-analysis of 21 studies said that there was not enough evidence to conclude that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease, but that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may indeed reduce risk of heart disease.

Two other major studies narrowed the prescription slightly, concluding that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils or high-fiber carbohydrates is the best bet for reducing the risk of heart disease, but replacing saturated fat with highly processed carbohydrates could do the opposite.


> When you pour liquid cooking oil into a pan, there's a good chance you're using polyunsaturated fat. Corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil are common examples. Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats.

Why would refined oils from sources that wouldn't have been available to man for 99.9% of human and pre-human existence be recommended at all? This article does nothing but repeat most of the same tropes as espoused for the past half century with no real supporting data behind it.

Edit:

from: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/80/3/550/4690530

> A causal relation between total and LDL cholesterol in blood and CAD has long been accepted. However, despite the strength of the relation between circulating concentrations of LDL cholesterol and heart disease, one should not assume that the relation between saturated fatty acid intake and heart disease is equally strong.

...

> Considerable evidence indicates that dietary saturated fats support the enhancement of HDL metabolism. In a study of the effects of reduced dietary intakes of total and saturated fat on HDL subpopulations in a group of multiracial, young and elderly men and women, subjects consumed each of the following 3 diets for 8 wk: an average American diet (34.3% of energy from total fat and 15.0% of energy from saturated fat), the American Heart Association Step I diet (28.6% of energy from total fat and 9.0% of energy from saturated fat), and a diet low in saturated fat (25.3% of energy from total fat and 6.1% of energy from saturated fat) (25). HDL2-cholesterol concentrations decreased in a stepwise fashion after the reduction of total and saturated fat. A reduction in dietary total and saturated fat decreased both large (HDL2 and HDL2b) and small, dense HDL subpopulations, although the decreases in HDL2 and HDL2b were most pronounced. Serum triacylglycerol concentrations were negatively correlated with changes in HDL2 and HDL2b cholesterol.

from: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/109/2/433/528...

> Those on a low-carbohydrate weight-loss diet who increase their percentage intake of dietary saturated fat may improve their overall lipid profile provided they focus on a high-quality diet and lower their intakes of both calories and refined carbohydrates. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01826591.


> Replacing meat and dairy with vegetables

They weren't replaced with vegetables, they were replaced with sugar made from cheap overproduced corn, and hydrogenated oils. Neither of those is a vegetable.

We wouldn't have nearly the diabetes problems we have now if they were replaced by more fresh vegetables.


Cutting dietary fat and replacing it with overly processed sugar, grains and seed oils is horrible for mankind, and a blight spread across the globe from U.S. agriculture industry.

For the most part vegetable intake is fine. Though excess fruit consumption year round, and in particular juice is pretty much inline with straight sugar. Your pancreas and liver don't care that it's "natural sugar" a term which irks me to no end.


You can concoct studies to show that dietary cholesterol is not correlated with serum cholesterol, but dietary cholesterol with dietary saturated fat is extremely correlated with high serum cholesterol (more so than just dietary saturated fat). Every high typical high cholesterol foods like eggs and meat are also high in saturated fat and reliably raise blood cholesterol. If you want to study elevated cholesterol in the lab you can just feed subjects eggs.


iirc margarine is really unhealthy tho


Whether that is true or not is (unfortunately) less important than big marketing saying its healthier.


It's already snuck in with a lot of fast food taco meats. Soy and Legume allergies aren't that uncommon... I don't mind as long as its' clearly labelled... I have a problem when it's labelled as "beef" or left to ambiguity.


As a vegetarian with an allergy to all legumes, including soy, life is rough sometimes.


That would be cool. I am not vegetation but suffer from gout, so I eat much less meat than I used to.

Ground beef is particularly bad for gout, so I would order this in a second given a choice.


I'll 100% be giving it a try (I'm already a long time vegetarian though). I like that it's BK doing this because BK has served a veggie burger (Morningstar Farms Patty) for around ~14 years, so they should be familiar with the demand for meatless products.

I remember when they first introduced a veggie burger, I wasn't sure the demand would be there, but it seems to have worked out.

So it remains to be seen if they'll keep the Morningstar version too.

I've never had a real Whopper, so I can't be comparing the two.


I pretty much hate fast food (as opposed to fast casual) burgers in general so I won't be eating this. But I have (in fact, unknowingly--don't ask) had an impossible burger in a good burger place and I actually didn't learn it wasn't meat until a few months later. It tasted like a perfectly good burger to me.


Your comment reminded me of the Chris Farley coffe-crystals skit. Ha ( https://vimeo.com/173106148 )


Carl's also has the beyond burger, which I personally think is superior. My wife disagrees, and prefers your standard veggie burgers (we are vegans of 15 years).


I haven't been able to compare the Impossible Burger. I had a Beyond Burger, and it was very good. If somebody were to hand it to a meat eater at a cookout, without calling attention to it, they'd eat it without noticing the switch. Pile on a few toppings (which people usually do because of the flavorless nature of most fast-food and grocery-store beef), and most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference in a blind tasting.

It's pretty clear that it's not beef if you're looking for it, but not nearly as distinct as your standard veggie burgers. Most vegans, though, aren't especially craving meat simulacra. I think of them more as transitional for meat eaters rather than as targeting vegans.


I too prefer the Beyond Meat burger to the Impossible Burger, but I don't know about a meat eater not noticing. I love meat - especially beef, but lately I've also been trying meat alternatives.

Just recently, I ordered an Impossible Burger, and it just left me wanting beef. It's not that it was bad - the burger looked similar to beef, and was juicy and delicious. But it didnt taste like beef. Maybe it's different for others, but for me, the beef is the spotlight of a burger. Beyond and Impossible haven't gotten that beefy taste - at least to my buds.

When I cook a Beyond Meat burger at home, I usually add a little butter - I dont think there is enough fat, and I also add some Takii umami powder (which I believe is just salt, and ground up mushrooms). I think those additions help the illusion of beef. You could probably also cook the burger in rendered beef fat, and that would probably really help the beef flavor...probably defeating the point of meat alternatives though.

I wish I could cook an Impossible at home, just to experiment.


Your wish should come true, they announced back in January they plan on selling the Impossible Burger 2.0 in grocery stores.


Cooking it in animal fat is a good way to reduce meat consumption anyway, so it's a good strategy that way.


You are correct on all points, in my experience.

That said, those of us that DO miss some level of meat simulacra (great phrase!) will appreciate this. I lost the taste for actual red meat over 20 years ago, but the texture is still something that has few parallels. Between the hardcore beef aficionados wanting nothing to do with "fake meat" and the hardcore vegetarians/vegans happy to consume veggies I find bland or noxious (As a vegetarian that strongly dislikes bell peppers, I can say the struggle is real) I've had limited options no matter where I turn.

Both Impossible and Beyond burgers have been teasing me for years, but have offered nothing for home. This doesn't get us there, but the more fast food places that carry them, the closer it becomes to being a part of normal.


Beyond Meat products are at a lot of stores, including Safeway and Target. In mine they're located over by the fresh meat. The web site has a locator: https://www.beyondmeat.com/where-to-find/

It does a remarkably good job of giving the texture of a mediocre burger. Not a great burger by any means, but it might fill a niche that you don't get from the Morningstar-type burgers.


...the last time I checked they were only available at restaurants, so this was very happy news for me. Thanks!


My partner picked up two Beyond Burgers and a bunch of Beyond Sausages at the local supermarket, and one of the cheap supermarkets to boot!

I hope you are able to find some soon. Home cooking definitely delivers a better experience than Carl's (at least at my house).


>because of the flavorless nature of most fast-food and grocery-store beef

this was my judgement of the beyond burger too. it's basically indistinguishable from a bad hamburger. it's certainly not a good hamburger, but it could pass as meat the same way most fast food burgers pass as meat.


My girlfriend (vegan of 12ish years) actually has trouble eating any of the more realistic fake meats. She says she has just lost the taste for it and that it grosses her out now.


This is roughly what it's like for me, too, as a vegetarian of over 20 years. I wouldn't say it grosses me out, personally. It's more that that, after many, many years of eating food with much brighter flavors, it would seem that that whole corner of the flavor spectrum just isn't palatable to me anymore.

We've noticed an interesting phenomenon among kids in vegetarian families: Preschoolers who will literally fight each other over things that their peers typically avoid like the plague, like broccoli or tofu, but, if you give them a meal with some sort of realistic fake meat in it, they will diligently pick around it.


My current diet is “intermittently vegan,” and when I’m not eating meat, I find myself preferring the taste of actual veggies in my veggie burgers. Where traditional veggie burgers fall short in my experience is their texture. No matter how much breadcrumbs or potato starch or xanthan gum you add, a patty based on beans and veggies is gonna be squishier than one based on muscle fibers.


Bobby Flay nails the texture on the veggie burger he serves at his restaurant chain (Bobby's Burger Palace). Here's the recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/bobby-flays-v...

It's very, very delicious, but its not trying to taste like meat.


I had a homemade one once, of brussel sprouts, where the leaves must have intermeshed in such a way as to be pretty damn similar in texture. No similarity in taste, though.


Nutritional facts for the Beyond burger: https://www.myfooddiary.com/foods/7209543/beyond-meat-the-be...

Looks slightly healthier than an Impossible burger, but not as good as other "veggie burgers".


I had Beyond at Carl's the other day and I found it very bland. I definitely prefer Impossible.


I think the beyond is a little better than the impossible, but both are in the same tier, well ahead of any other competitors.


Whitecastle has an impossible slider as well, impossible is probably pitching their meatlike substance to every national brand right now.


FYI for a lot of folks in here who may not know, Taco Bell is vegan certified. If you order something vegan they will prep it separately and make sure no animal products touched your food. I suspect they might add Impossible Meat (or a competitor) some time soon.


Taco Bell and Burger King are two of the only chains when traveling who will (reliably) vegan/halal certify. Makes sense why we're seeing this adoption from BK early.


Yep, I stopped eating Taco Bell in my early 20s once I couldn't stomach it anymore, but I started getting it again when I went vegan and it's great. I think the traditional grossness of it must come from their weird sauces, or maybe from fillers in their meat. They're still $1 burritos so I won't pretend the ingredients are the freshest or highest-quality, but vegan Taco Bell just tastes like normal food and not like, well, Taco Bell.


> Taco Bell is vegan certified.

I did not know that! Thanks, that's good to know.


del taco is about to roll out beyond tacos to all their locations. While its not a direct (size wise) competitor to taco bell. Their competitors already have made the first move.


People should be aware that Burger King has had (MorningStar) veggie burgers for a very long time that they just don't broadcast. This announcement is not about introducing a vegetarian patty but rather about introducing a _specific_ vegetarian patty.


Indeed and I do enjoy the MorningStar patty with all the toppings BK puts on it. Big difference is MorningStar is one of those "not really trying to be meat" veggie burgers, whereas the Impossible Burger is trying to be a one-to-one facsimile of meat. So I think they are similar but different.

Another big difference is the Impossible Burger is vegan and the MorningStar burger is not (IIRC).


FYI there looks to be less saturated fat, and sodium in a MorningStar burger compared with the Impossible.

*http://smartlabel.kelloggs.com/Product/Index/00028989100689


My first complaint about the nutrition of the Morningstar burger is the ratio of carbs to protien. Restaurants are already throwing tons of carbs at me. I really want protein in my burger patty.


[flagged]


If I wanted a lot of carbs with some protein, I could always eat quinoa or something. There's no shortage of options there. What's interesting here is a vegan protein source that's actually a nearly pure protein source.

When you are targeting specific macros for athletic reasons, a pure protein source is pretty much a requirement. During aggressive cuts, you require a tremendous amount of protein to prevent muscle wasting. For endurance athletes, low carb diets can be useful for increasing lactate threshold. There are also low carb requirements for diabetes and epilepsy.


[flagged]


You're on a website called "hacker news." Are you really surprised that there are people interested in hacking their bodies?


Wait, are you really complaining about nutrition at a fast food restaurant ?


It’s not as though some food is automatically bad for you because it came from Burger King, and even if it were, there is a huge range of how bad it is. I could get 500 calories from a burger or 2000 from a burger with a milkshake and fries. It’s not a good idea to make a fast-food restaurant a zone of nutrition nihilism where we just accept that we doom our health by entering and ignore the choice of what to order.

At least they are forced to display nutrition info, so I know what I’m getting, unlike most sit-down restaurants that serve even larger portions with no numbers included.


Sometimes, you need something fast, cheap, and easy, so it's nice to have some fast food items in mind that have reasonable calories and macros. A great example is when I'm driving long distance, I'll swing by CFA if possible.


> I'll swing by CFA if possible.

Uh... http://cfa.org ?



Assuming Chick-fil-A in this context


of course then you have the ethical implications of chick-fil-a


I really hate this take that if something is not perfect, you might as well just give up completely.


Fast food doesn't necessarily have to be bad nutrition. I can cook a couple of eggs in a couple of minutes.

:^)


Heck, you don't even have to cook 'em!


But it tastes like a patty of vegetables instead of a mock meat burger. Not really even the same category.


Note that the morning star patty is vegetarian, but not vegan. Also it is microwaved and not prepared on the grill.


No way they could prepare it on the grill, unless they had a dedicated grill for it. Sharing the grill with real burgers would mean tons of meat grease contaminating the veggie burgers.

They're probably unwilling to dedicate the kitchen space for a vegetarian grill, so the microwave is the obvious choice. Microwaves won't cross-contaminate like a greasy grill will, and are already in the kitchen so the financial risk is minimized.


Many vegetarians/vegans don't mind cross .termination.

Also, many fastfood places do have dedicated grills for vegan/vegetarian burgers, like for example McDonalds in the UK.


> Many vegetarians/vegans don't mind cross .termination.

Massively wrong. Most are easy going regarding using the same cutlery, pots, pan, etc (only ones I've met who aren't happen to be Indian mums or super strict vegans).

However... cooking up on the same griddle? Yeah, that's something most veggies and vegans I know who be very unhappy about.


morning star patties aren't vegan. I know this has been a barrier for some people.


Yeah but the morning star veggie burgers taste terrible.


The A&W chain in Canada has had the "Beyond Meat" burger for over 1 year and its been a massive success for them.

https://web.aw.ca/en/our-menu/burgers/beyond-meat-burger


I love these burgers! They have actually helped me transition to completely beef-free since they address that occasional fast food burger craving.

It’s interesting to note that A&W Canada is entirely separate from A&W in the US. A&W Canada is much higher quality.


It was honestly a shock how terrible the US A&W was when I tried it. Canada's A&W is indeed MUCH better.


Really enjoy them but I found they were a bit too thin from A&W. Managed to get the retail version (4oz vs the A&W 3oz) and was really impressed. There is one thing that I've found with them that I don't like. They have a very peculiar smell (think cat food) while cooking which tends to linger.


I find the condiments on the burgers to be the more pronounced taste. I don't get that beefy flavor but its a nice alternative.


I've had an impossible burger, and cooked very well it almost made me pull my waiter aside and verify I wasn't eating meat.

Also ate meat for decades, so I also am very familiar with it.


I'll echo the sentiment. The local Safeway sells Impossible Bratwursts.

They are honestly delicious. We grilled them on a fry-pan. The flavor and texture are almost perfectly there. It's just a bit spongy, and the depth of the umami/savory flavor isn't quite as deep. But if I hadn't known they weren't meat, I'd have been fooled. Throw a few of them on a grill or beer-boil them, put some mustard down over top, little kraut, I'd never know they weren't meat.

If the burger patties are anywhere near as good as the brats, then I think they'll sell a billion of them. For hearth-health and calorie density alone, I'd order them nearly every time.

Living in the future has a few perks!


The umami was the only differentiating factor and even there it was like a small difference. I eat meat, tried the burger because if can cut out a little meat why not? The impossible burger was exceptional enough a replacement that if its on the menu, I'll order it.


Weird, I tried it and wanted to like it simply because it was higher in fat and lower carb than your traditional veggie burger - but it was very obvious I was eating fake meat. It was ok, I'd eat it again. But I would not replace real beef with it any time soon.

But I am keto. So I am not eating it with a bun and tons of sugary sauces to cover up the meat flavor. You can really tell the quality of a burger (meat or not) when you eat it wrapped in lettuce.


Similar experience: I wanted to like it, but found that, at best, it tasted like meat I wouldn't eat again.

Nevertheless, for the sake of the environment and industrially farmed animals, it's good to see meat substitutes progressing into the mainstream.


I'd prefer just more humane animal farming vs. fake meat. It may be more expensive - but if we incentivized humane farming of animals as much as we subsidized corn and/or wheat it might not be that bad (or just got rid of subsidies altogether).

I also think the environmental cost of plant farming is vastly underrated.


But you do realize that the environmental cost of animal farming is guaranteed to be >10x the cost of plant farming, correct? Each step up the food chain wastes roughly 90% of the energy, meaning that you need to grow more than 10 kcal of plants to raise 1 kcal of animal. So feeding animals is 10x as expensive as growing plants, in addition to the costs incurred by actually raising the livestock.


That's not exactly true. I do a lot of work for agricultural companies. One such company is a huge supplier of animal feed. Their products are the by-products of sugar production. Raffinate, Betaine, Molasses, Beet Pulp Pellets, etc... These products are very shelf stable and cheap. But they are not the main crop. Sugar Beets are not grown for these by-products.

In addition, grazing animals require no such feed. Grass fed beef is a thing, and it's price is on par or even quite a bit cheaper than fake meat.


However, even if the animals require no food to be purchased by the farmer, there is still an environmental cost in the land being used, plus the opportunity cost of other uses of that land.

Not all land used for grazing can be used to grow plants, true, but in the cases it can be, you're using that land at a 10% kcal efficiency, so to speak.


Most cattle feed isn't digestible by humans, so it doesn't matter. Replacing grass with more human-edible crops would probably introduce new problems of similar scale.

You might ask, can we just process the grass into something humans can eat? Well, that's what cattle are for.


Better to leave natural habitat on that land rather than clear-cutting forest for grazing land, as happens so much these days and in the past. Better food production efficiency means less forest razed which is a significant win.


Other forms of agriculture also contribute to deforestation. There are also situations where some grasslands may be suitable for grazing but cannot be sustainably made suitable for crops, and situations where livestock can be fed with byproducts of other agriculture.

Livestock are a central part of traditional agriculture and they're more or less essential for people who want to operate small-scale sustainable farms. It's a complicated issue that too many people enter with ideological presuppositions. Which is not to say current agricultural practices are necessarily perfect.


The important point is that animal agriculture is calorically inefficient, so much more land has to be used than if people could substitute plant-based food sources for animal-based. Much of plant agriculture today is only necessary to feed animals. Some animals could probably still be fed with plant agriculture byproducts if little to no land were directly used only for raising animals, but far fewer than are currently raised.

And many grasslands that cannot be sustainably be used for crops could be returned to wilderness rather than plant agriculture, if we were to increase caloric efficiency of food production. They probably should be, in fact. This doesn't preclude some animals being raised, but if we don't greatly reduce the amount of land used for raising animals, deforestation, desertification and other harms will continue to degrade ecosystems.


I had the v2 impossible burger a few weeks ago. It felt close to regular meat, had a similar mouth feel, but the flavor was a bit off so I only ate two bites. I'm looking forward to trying their next version.


I assume "very well" means properly, not at an extreme of the well done / medium / rare scale?


White Castle has had Impossible Burgers available for about a year now. Just interesting to see the trend emerging from what I would consider the "bottom-most" market segment. I suppose they had the most to gain from drawing in a meat-averse audience.

Whatever your feelings on this particular product, it seems that the perhaps-inevitable decline of the traditional meat industry is going to take place on many fronts (clean meats, plant hemes, alternative proteins, locavore provider networks, increased availability of traditional vegetarian cuisines).


The patty in the normal $1 White Castle slider is so thin, that the $2 Impossible Slider feels like an improvement already just because the patty is thicker.


You also can't really taste the beef in a white castle anyway!

(And don't get me wrong, I'm a white castle fan. I also would not be shocked if I can't tell the difference between beyond and beef in a white castle. I definitely can in a full size burger).


I had the White Castle version, and my estimation is how it's cooked will be the biggest determining factor in its taste. Sadly, all the big fast food joints can't cook a burger worth a crap, so this plant burger probably won't sell much under their brands.


> Just interesting to see the trend emerging from what I would consider the "bottom-most" market segment.

Competition and innovation can be found wherever margins are thin.


If it's cheaper than real meat... it doesn't surprise me at all.


I'm an angel investor in both plant based meat and clean meat and I'm actually more optimistic for plant based meat becoming better than animal meat in the short term. The rate of innovation has been really impressive and momentum is picking up steam.. once prices get under animal meat huge amounts of people will switch


Hopefully carbon taxes and such would kick in at some point and would include the real environmental cost of beef, so the switching to plant based beef would be even more swift.


Beef only is responsible for 3% of greenhouse gasses in America. I'm not sure an "emission" tax would really affect the price all that much. In addition, you have to account for and tax the emissions produced in plant production (fertilizer, agricultural soil, transportation, etc...). Agriculture is a total of 9%, whereas livestock only accounts for 3% of that.

I work for agriculture companies, and a lot of animal feed comes from by-products of other agricultural products. For example, beet pulp pellets, raffinate, betaine, molasses are all by products of sugar production and are used for animal feed extensively. They are cheap and very shelf stable.

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emis...


I believe this is a very US-centric viewpoint.

I'm using the article 'Beef Cattle and Greenhouse Gas Production' from Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/beef/news/info...

According Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the UN 2006 report livestock were responsible for 18% of all human-related greenhouse gas production. 14.5% according to 2013 report.

Of that 43% is Enteric.

There may only be 9% GHG emissions in the US, but beef also comes from other countries where these emissions are very different. See Regional and Production System differences.

From the article -- There was an approximately 4-fold difference in emission intensity between the top 10% of producers and the bottom 10% of producers within a system.


You are right, but I was discussing in reference to a U.S. based emissions "tax". Maybe I misunderstood and they were suggesting a worldwide tax? Not sure how that would work.

If the U.S. were to tax agriculture production of beef, I'm assuming that would be for U.S. farmers so the relevant statistic is emissions in the U.S.


Minor note; "Manure management accounts for about 15 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions from the Agriculture economic sector in the United States."

If you include the emissions from manure management you end with 45% of all emissions emanating from livestock production.


To be clear, you end up with 45% of all emissions from the agriculture sector - which would be 4.05% overall.

Also, that manure management is part of fertilization of plants if I am not mistaken.


> Beef only is responsible for 3% of greenhouse gasses in America. I'm not sure an "emission" tax would really affect the price all that much.

Are you only talking about directly? Because there is a huge amount of indirect costs, such as feed, transport, manufacturing.


Plant based products have similar transport & manufacturing impact so I am not including that.

In addition, for feeding often this comes from by-products of plant production (sugar by-products, etc...). The only reason corn is so popular imo is because it is so heavily subsidized by our government making it dirt cheap. But grass fed beef is a thing and it's on par or even quite a bit cheaper price wise than fake meat.


I think ultimately the price will be determined through government subsidies. Current Meat and Dairy Industry receives massive subsidies (~38$Bn) and the lobbying groups won't appreciate a cut of profits.


What is the addressable market, and possible valuation you believe that Impossible would achieve? and when?


Right now plant based meat is well under 1 percent of the meat market in the US and it's realistic it could become the majority within 10 years. Who will get the bulk of that is up for grabs, I invested in a smaller competitor to beyond and impossible which had a much lower valuation but with product I think it's right up there with them. Personally I'm a big supporter of them all


I'm really bullish on the possibility of a wide range of competitors for any given meat alternative. There are probably 10+ different brands of prepackaged beef burgers at most grocery stores, and there's a lot more room for differentiation if you're building a product from scratch than if you're just deciding which cows to grind up and shape into a patty.

Do you mind sharing the name of the company you're referring to? I'm always looking to try new options and support companies in the space.


Sure, have emailed you the company name. Thx


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