The Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger: veggie burgers made for carnivores

impossible burger and beyond burger

(Question: Which of these are meat burgers, Impossible Burgers, or Beyond Burgers? See answer below.)

What are they?  |  Where can I get them?

What is the Impossible Burger?  What is the Beyond Burger?

The Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger (a.k.a. veggie burger, vegan burger or “motherless meat” burger), meaning the burger patty is made from plants and without any meat.  It consists of simple ingredients including: wheat protein, coconut oil and potato protein.  Also, it is completely free of antibiotics, hormones and other artificial ingredients.

What makes this burger “impossible” is that the consistency, texture and flavor are shockingly similar to red meat.  To achieve these meat-like properties, the patty is infused with a special ingredient—heme (pronounced “heem”), an iron-containing compound found in all living organisms.  But in order to avoid animal products and reduce environmental impact, the developers of this burger genetically engineered this heme from fermented yeast.  In July 2018, the FDA had unanimously deemed heme safe to eat.

Impossible Burger 2.0  In January 2019, Impossible Foods announced the next evolution of its plant-based burger, Impossible Burger 2.0 (now simply known as the “Impossible Burger”).  This next generation of burgers has a richer, beefier taste similar to higher quality meats.  If the Impossible Burger 1.0 tastes like an OK Sizzler steak, the 2.0 version is more like a well-massaged Kobe ribeye. -Dara Kerr of CNET

In addition to the improved flavor, it is still significantly healthier than actual meat.  A quarter-pound patty of the new Impossible Burger has 0mg cholesterol, 14g of total fat and 240 calories in a quarter-pound patty.  A typical 80/20 ground beef quarter-pound patty, on the other hand, has 80mg cholesterol, 23g of total fat and 290 calories.

Due to unprecedented demand, the Impossible Burger 2.0 was rolled out to 200 restaurants nationwide in the third week of January 2019 and to thousands more in the following weeks.  On February 4, 2019, it became available to restaurants across the U.S. (scroll down for exact locations).

The Beyond Burger is also a plant-based burger that is made to resemble red meat.  Its ingredients include proteins from pea and soy, all-natural seasonings and beet juice…so it “bleeds” like a real burger.  According to Beyond Meat, their burgers are made with 100% plant-protein.  Furthermore, these proteins are aligned in the same fibrous structure as animal protein using a proprietary heating-cooling-pressure process.  As a result, this produces the taste and texture of meat without the antibiotics, hormones and GMOs found in many beef burgers.  Beyond Meat officially secured non-GMO verification from The Non-GMO Project in July 2018.

Why make meat-like plant burgers?

Neither of these burgers was made for vegans or vegetarians who don’t care for the taste of meat.  They were created for hardcore carnivores and anyone with an affinity to eating meat.  They were also made for those who want to transition into vegetarianism or veganism.  This provides a meat-like alternative for anyone who may long for the taste of meat.

These “meats” were created to help increase the sustainability of the global food system.  By attracting meat-eaters (and non-meat eaters who miss the taste of meat) to these meat-like burgers, much fewer resources would be consumed.  In addition, the production of these alternative meats eliminates any maltreatment or harm caused to animals.

What do the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger taste like?

According to a taste comparison by Health, both the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger “simulate meat so well you might be willing to leave the real thing behind forever.”  The Beyond Burger is more tender and less chewy than your run-of-the-mill veggie patty making it a decent meat substitute.  The Impossible Burger, on the other hand, even more closely resembles a real beef burger in all aspects.  Either way, these burgers are a good way for carnivores to enter the plant-based world without giving up the taste of meat.

Are there other meat-like burgers out there?

Although the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meats are two of the biggest innovators in the development of meat-like meats, there are other players in the game. 

Nestlé has launched the “Awesome Burger,” created by the Nestle-acquired company Sweet Earth.  its key ingredients are yellow peas and wheat.  Nestlé also previously launched the “Incredible Burger” where it can be found at McDonald’s locations throughout Germany.

In the UK, Moving Mountains makes plant-based burgers with beetroot juice.  They call themselves “UK’s first-ever meatless bleeding burger.”  Naturli’ in Denmark has its own version of a plant-based burger based on peas.  They also use beetroot for that red meat look.

The newest kid on the block is Meati Foods. Rather than making ground or crumbled meat alternatives, Meati Foods uses mushrooms to make full alternative steaks and chicken breasts that look, feel and taste quite similar to the real thing.

Where can I get the Impossible Burger?  Where can I get the Beyond Burger?  

According to Impossible Foods, as of September 20, 2019, their Impossible Burger can be found in select supermarkets in Southern California.   By mid-2020, it will be available in supermarkets across the US.  The Impossible Burger is already also served in thousands of restaurants across the country including Burger King, which serves the “Impossible Whopper,” and White Castle, which serves the “Impossible Slider.”  Impossible Burger 2.0 can be found in all the locations listed here.  But if you’ve tried one, you definitely haven’t tried them all since each of these restaurants each use their own style and flavor.  (Btw, for all you pork lovers…Impossible Foods introduced Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage in January 2020.)  Scroll down to see some of the best spots to try this meatless “meat.”

Meanwhile, the Beyond Burger is available pretty much anywhere.  Find it: on Amazon, in hundreds of restaurants (including Carl’s Jr.), dozens of colleges and over 5,000 grocery stores nationwide…in the meat section no less.  Beyond Meat has also gone beyond burgers to provide other meat-less alternatives for chickensausage and crumbles (for sloppy joes and tacos—served at Del Taco as Beyond Tacos).  Here are some of the most popular locations that serve up their surprisingly meaty non-meat burgers.

Dallas, TX (locations nationwide): TGI Fridays
-Beyond Burger-

beyond burger dallas tx
? :

New York, NY (locations nationwide): BurgerFi
-Beyond Burger-

? : BurgerFi on Facebook

Los Angeles, CA (select locations nationwide): Umami Burger
-Impossible Burger-

? : Umami Burger on Facebook

San Diego, CA: Jayne’s Gastropub
-Impossible Burger-

? : Jayne’s Gastropub on Facebook

New York, NY (locations nationwide): White Castle
-Impossible Burger-

? : White Castle on Facebook

San Francisco, CA:  Jardinière
-Impossible Burger-

? :  Jardinière on Facebook

(Answer: In the main photo above, ALL 3 burgers in the top row are Impossible Burgers…
and ALL 3 burgers in the bottom row are Beyond Burgers.)

Hello! I'm Kristina

Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.

13 Responses

      1. You can find the ingredients on each company’s official website. Here are the ingredients provided by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat for their respective burgers.

        Impossible Burger ingredients:
        Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.
        Contains: Soy

        Beyond Burger ingredients:
        Water, Pea Protein*, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Pomegranate Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Beet Juice Extract (for color).

        *Peas are legumes. People with severe allergies to legumes like peanuts should be cautious when introducing pea protein into their diet because of the possibility of a pea allergy. Our products do not contain peanuts or tree nuts.

  1. I had THE BEYOND BURGER for the first time yesterday and it was delicious! Is there a Supermarket in the Hudson, MA 01749 area that sells them?

  2. Houlihan’s Restaurant in NJ serves the impossible burger on their menu. I go JUST for the impossible burger. It is delish. Even my meat loving mother enjoyed the impossible burger.

  3. I have been a vegan for four years now. I do not preach to others to become one and I usually only announce it at restaurants to make sure cheese or milk or meats dont make it on to my plate. I became a vegan because I could no longer sleep knowing about and participating in the horrific suffering and brutal deaths that factory farm animals endure. I did not give up meat because I didnt love the taste. I loved steak and chicken and bacon and cheese but in good conscience could no longer eat it. The first time I had a plant based burger and I do not mean a veggie burger (they generally suck), I called the waiter back to my table and told him that I thought they made a mistake and brought me a real burger and he said, “no, they are just that good”. That was from a company called Hungry Planet but was only available in a select few restaurants and university cafeterias and I was worried I would not be able to get it again, since we left the town where I got it. And then, I went to Carl’s Jr and had the Beyond Burger. OMG. So good. Yes, it is probably cooked on the same grill but I am not eating animals and it is a difficult thing to be 100% vegan and not all vegans dont want the taste of meat. I do. I hate veggie burgers. Anyway, it is very very very good. Oddly, I had an Impossible Burger at Red Robin and one half was unimpressive and I felt way under performed to the Beyond Burger but then the second half was very good. Must have been the cook. Try it. I doubt very seriously you would be dissappointed.

  4. It boasts non GMO but then the very essence is “genetically engineered.” If you care about that…