Could the next burger fad be one that’s plant-based and oozes fake blood?
Starting today (July 27), consumers in New York City will be able to order the much-anticipated plant-based burger developed by Impossible Foods. The burger is debuting at chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi, and will become available at a to-be-announced second location in San Francisco later this year.
The Impossible Foods burger is the product of years of research, more than $180 million in funding, and endless tinkering to try and make a plant-based product that mimics a meaty American staple. It will be priced around $12 at Momofuku (a reasonable price in the context of that menu), which should please the adventurous omnivores Impossible Foods is targeting.
The meatless burger’s magic ingredient is called heme, an iron-rich molecule that carries oxygen, found in all living cells. Heme makes animals’ blood red and gives meat its pinkish hue. By using plant heme instead of animal heme, the creators of this plant burger have been able to achieve much of the texture and taste of beef burgers, as well as a sizzling, browning, fat-emitting reaction to being grilled.
Impossible Foods is joined by plenty of other meatless ventures, including the Beyond Burger, a sizzling pea-based burger that “bleeds” beet juice. Already meatless patties, backed by the likes of Bill Gates and big venture capitalists, have been a boon for vegan outposts like Whole Foods, and Washington DC lobbyists.