California company Impossible Foods launched its animal-free burger at hip Manhattan restaurant Momofuku Nishi on Wednesday 27 July.
It is a landmark moment for the Google-funded business as it marks the first time that its burger – which cooks, smells, sizzles and tastes like ground beef – will be regularly available on a restaurant menu. Without hyperbolising the event, the company believes this could herald a new generation of plant-based meat products readily available to the paying public.
Patrick Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, said the burger was just the starting point and believed this could drastically change the food supply chain. He said: “With its introduction at Momofuku Nishi, we have begun the movement to build a new kind of global food system, one that creates new markets for farmers, supports a more resilient food supply, and offers consumers new choices for the meat and dairy products they know and love – ones that are equally delicious, but made from plants.”
Meat-free meat possible
The Impossible Burger is made from water, wheat, protein, coconut oil, potato, but its secret weapon is leghemoglobin. Also known as heme, this is an iron-rich molecule that gives blood its red colour and slightly metallic flavour
Impossible claimed its burger does not compromise on taste or protein and also contains no cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics.
The company also has plans to roll out the burger at a spate of restaurants across San Francisco and Los Angeles. The success of this will determine whether Impossible Foods has the necessary demand to launch its meat-free burger in grocery stores and overseas markets.
Momofuku Nishi head chef and founder David Chang said he was “blown away” by the flavour of the burger. “The Impossible Foods team has discovered how to re-engineer what makes beef taste like beef. We’re always looking to support people who are making the best products in the best ways possible and, to me, the Impossible Burger is one more example.”
Impossible Foods is a venture funded by the likes of Google, Bill Gates and UBS. Its founder, Patrick Brown, is a former scientist and professor at the prestigious Stanford University.