What are Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage?
Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage are meatless alternatives to pork and sausage created by Impossible Foods. Like the widely-available Impossible Burger, both of these plant-based “meats” include Impossible Foods’ patented “heme” protein, which is an iron-containing compound found in all living organisms recreated from fermented yeast. However, unlike the Impossible Burger, a smaller amount of this plant-based heme is used in order to make Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage more accurately taste and feel like real pork and sausage. This parallels the lesser amount of natural heme found in pigs versus cows.
Why create imitation pork? Well, it’s for the same reasons why other imitation meats are made (and why many choose to go vegetarian or vegan). These food manufacturers tout that these products:
- are healthier for human consumption (based on eliminating hormones and contaminants)
- are better for the environment (based on plants using fewer resources than animals)
- do not cause harm to animals
Obviously, a shift in society choosing to eat plants instead of animals can help spare the lives of animals that would otherwise be slaughtered for food. However, the other two points revolving around health and the environment have been a bit controversial.
It is true that plant-based “meats” don’t have the hormones and other contaminants commonly found in animals. However, looking at the nutritional facts, they are still relatively high in saturated fats and sodium.
Also, plants do take up less space and use fewer resources to grow, but the manufacturing process as a whole still burns significant amounts of fossil fuels for electricity, production and transportation.
So yes, there are real benefits to eating these meat-like plant-based foods, but keep in mind that they may not be as beneficial to your health and the environment as you may have initially thought.
Pork is a highly consumed meat in Asians countries, particularly in China. The popularity of this meat is largely due to the relatively low maintenance of raising pigs versus cows or birds. Pigs are omnivores and will eat anything that vaguely resembles food. They also require less space than many other farm animals.
Chinese eat an average of 120 pounds of pork per year. As of 2017, China’s consumption of pork had increased to 50% of the pork produced worldwide—making it the world’s largest consumer of pork. In 2018, African swine fever led to widespread pork shortages in China the following year. This caused pork prices to skyrocket, leaving many Chinese to opt for more affordable alternatives. This provided an opportunity for companies like Impossible Foods to enter this massive market.
Fun fact: The Chinese symbol for “meat” is a synonym for “pork.”
Are Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage vegan? What do they taste like?
Yes, both Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage are 100% plant-based. These meat replacements are specifically designed to taste as close to the real thing as possible without the use of any meat products or by-products. Many of the attendees at CES 2020, who were among the first to try these products, agreed that the texture and flavor of both pork alternatives were very similar to authentic pork and sausage.
Additionally, they are antibiotic-free, gluten-free and produced for halal and kosher certification.
What are other vegan alternatives to pork, sausage and other pig meats?
While Impossible Foods is one of the only companies (along with Beyond Meat’s Beyond Sausage) to specialize in realistic meatless pork and sausage, other companies have been producing pork and sausage alternatives, including:
- Fieldroast’s sausages
- Gardein’s “BBQ Porkless Shreds Pocket Meals“
- LiteLife’s sausages
- Morning Star’s pulled pork and sausages
- Right Treat’s “Omnipork”
- To-Jo’s “Pulled Port” (yes, that’s “port” with a “t”)
Also, many vegans have been using other ingredients as pork replacements for years. Some popular pork substitutes include:
- King Trumpet mushroom stems (pulled pork texture)
- jackfruit (pulled pork texture)
Impossible Pork is not yet available to the public (as of early January 2020). However, Impossible Foods has made it clear that they have near-term plans to launch its pork products in China due to its heavy consumption.
Based on the release of the latest version of the Impossible Burger, it’s likely that it will be available in a growing number of restaurants across the United States as the year progresses. Also, because pork is a predominant ingredient used in many Asian dishes (and was displayed in Chinese shumai and Vietnamese banh mi at CES 2020), it is reasonable to assume that Impossible Pork will likely be found in Asian and Asian Fusion restaurants.
Impossible Sausage will be available for a limited time starting on January 13, 2020 at 139 Burger King locations in the following test markets: Montgomery, Alabama; Savannah, Georgia; Springfield, Illinois; Lansing, Michigan and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It will be featured in Burger King’s Impossible Croissan’wich. Burger King already serves the Impossible Whopper, which was introduced nationwide in August 2019.