You’ve probably had veggie burgers on your menu for years. Now, there’s a new kid on the block. Meet (but not meat): plant-based burgers.
What makes a plant-based burger different from a veggie burger?
When you think veggie burger, most people think black bean. You might even think of a burger made of chickpeas. Regardless, these are burgers that are discernably different than a beef patty in both look and mouth feel. A plant-based burger is designed to look like and mimic the texture and consistency of a beef burger.
What’s in plant-based burgers?
What is in your plant-based burger is going to depend on the company that produces it. Below is a chart to help you compare a few of the more notable options.
|Brand||Main Source of Protein||Oil||GMOs||Certified Organic||Gluten Free|
|Impossible||Soy & Potato Proteins||Coconut||Yes||No||Yes|
|Beyond||Pea Protein Isolate||Canola||No||No||Yes|
|Before the Butcher||Soy||Canola & Coconut||No||No||Yes|
Many plant-based burgers have gone to great lengths to mimic the flavor and hue of beef. The Impossible burger does so by using a lab created molecule called soy leghemoglobin, known as heme, that will imitate the way a beef burger “bleeds”. The Beyond burger achieves this through the use of beet juice extract, while some like Before the Butcher use beet juice powder for coloring.
Who’s ordering plant-based burgers?
There’s a misconception that plant-based burgers are only being ordered by vegetarians and vegans. In fact, brands like Impossible tout themselves as “made for people who love meat.”
Some consumers who choose to swap a plant-based option for their beef burgers occasionally may be doing so for a variety of reasons. They may be concerned about their own health and want to cut down on their consumption of red meat, or they may be interested in conserving natural resources, or respecting animal welfare.
For this reason, it’s important to offer your plant-based burgers as a vegetarian/vegan option, but also to get creative and treat them first and foremost as what they were designed to be; a tasty burger!
Are there other types of plant-based products available?
Yes! Plant-based is much more than just burgers. From sausage grounds, to pulled pork, to chorizo and chicken options, there are a wide variety of plant-based products on the market to get creative with!
Is “clean meat” the same thing as plant-based?
No. On the horizon is the development of “clean meat,” a new term being used to describe real meat being produced by vitro cultivation of animal cells (also known as “cultured” meat).
Essentially, a muscle sample is collected from an animal. Then stem cells are collected from that sample, multiplying them dramatically and allowing them to bulk up to form muscle tissue.
At this time, the costs associated with producing meat in a lab that resembles the kinds of meat products consumers are used to is exponential. Clean meat is not currently at a cost where it can be sold commercially. However, with major food names gaining interest and investing, their goal of selling commercially by 2020 is certainly something to consider.
*For more information on the plant-based options available at Schiff’s Food Service, please contact your sales representative.