On April 1, fast food giant Burger King announced its latest burger – a meatless burger.
Despite what many thought, it was not April Fool’s Day. The BK ImpossibleWhopper is real, and if you can believe a lot of the internet chatter, it’s pretty good.
The Impossible Whopper is perhaps the biggest splash to date made by Impossible Foods, based in Redwood City, Calif., Which develops plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy.
For Burger King, the company developed a patty made from soy protein, potato protein, coconut oil, sunflower oil, heme, and other ingredients.
Impossible Burger touts its ability to deliver a tasty burger that’s good for you too. And he claims the Impossible Burger generates about 87% less greenhouse gases, uses 75% less water, and requires about 95% less land than conventional ground beef.
And Impossible Foods isn’t the only one. Across the food industry, the number of plant proteins is increasing as consumers seek not only to improve their health, but to do it in ways that they perceive to be good for the Earth.
Even the giants of the meat industry are riding the plant protein wave. Companies like Cargill, Tyson, Hormel and ADM are all exploring the development of plant-based alternatives to meat.
Bristol, Before the Butcher partner on industry first
Retailer Bristol Farms is the country’s first grocer to sell unpackaged meats and plant-based dishes behind the glass in its butcher’s section.
A new Bristol Farms store in Yorba Linda will feature herbal items.
Yorba Linda store selection includes plant-based chicken burgers and breakfast sausages from Huntington Beach, Calif., Before the Butcher, as well as items like a meatless taco mix, vegetarian meatloaf. , vegetarian stuffed cabbage, chorizo-stuffed potatoes and a Mediterranean meatless galette prepared by the chefs of Bristol Farms using ground products Before the Butcher.
Bristol Farms is Before the Butcher’s first retail partner, but the company is in discussions with all of the major retailers across the country as well as many smaller retailers, said Danny O’Malley, president of Before the Butcher. (Until the deal with Bristol Farms, the company focused on catering.)
âI don’t need to tell you how hot the market is for the products we have, and we’re really excited about that,â O’Malley said. âWhat makes us special is that we have a wide range of foodservice and retail products. “
For now, all Before the Butcher products sold at Bristol Farms will be sold behind the meat counter, but the two companies are also in talks to add Before the Butcher products to Bristol Farms ready meal offerings, O said. ‘Malley.
The alternative protein revolution, he says, is causing many grocery retailers to start thinking differently about how they label their meat aisle.
âWe don’t call it the meat department – it’s the protein department,â says O’Malley. âThere’s seafood, poultry, often wild game, beef, lamb, sometimes goat – lots of different proteins. We are another source of protein, and we believe that we belong to other sources of protein and believe that the consumer is ready for it.
Health, environmental impact and concerns about cruelty to animals are the three main factors driving demand for alternative proteins, says O’Malley.
âWe provide the perfect transition for anyone interested in eating a little healthier,â he says. âOur products mimic the comfort foods everyone loves. The texture, bite and chew are very similar to animal protein, and the taste is excellent. When you bite, you’re going to say, âThis is a burger. It turns out to be made of plants.
The environmental impact, meanwhile, is particularly important for young consumers, says O’Malley. âMillennials, middle generation, they are very concerned about the environment, and they were educated and raised that way. They get it. We don’t have to spend a lot of time talking to them about the environmental impact, they already know that.
Demographic trends ensure that the demand for plant protein will only grow, says O’Malley.
âIt’s not a fad – I even have trouble with the word trend,â he says. âIt’s a lifestyle change that people are making. And that’s not going to change. We know that by 2050 the world will likely number 9 billion people. We cannot feed 9 billion people animal protein.
And that growth won’t primarily be driven by people switching to vegetarianism and veganism, O’Malley says.
âProbably over 80% of our products are consumed by meat eaters. It is the heart of our customers. Vegetarians are really important to us, and we want to make sure we take care of all of them, but the most important group is the meat eaters – the flexitarians, the reductarists. They are looking for another option. They may never stop eating meat, but they want to know that there is another option. We are a transitional product that people never get out of. “
Tyson affirms commitment to protein alternatives
In April, Tyson Foods sold its stake in alternative protein producer Beyond Meat. But Tyson remains committed to exploring herbal alternatives, said Tyson CEO Noel White. In fact, a month later, the company announced plans to start rolling out its own herbal products this summer.
“We are combining our creativity, scale and resources to make delicious tasting protein alternatives more accessible to everyone, both nationally and internationally,” White said. âWe will leverage all the resources we have, our knowledge, our innovation, our manufacturing, our sales, our distribution and a global platform. “
When Tyson announced his commitment to alternative proteins in January 2018, then President and CEO Tom Hayes said the move was part of a larger shift to other sources of protein beyond what Tyson is best known for – chicken.
âWe know what comes to mind when people think of Tyson Foods, and that’s chicken,â Hayes said. âBut the truth is we’re talking about chicken and more. We are talking about sausage and pepperoni. scrambled eggs and convenient snacks. Turkey and beef jerky deli. And now, thanks to our venture capital fund, cultivated meats and vegetable proteins. All of these foods have one thing in common: protein.
A protein strategy including alternative forms, Hayes added, is âintuitiveâ for Tyson. âThis is a new step in giving today’s consumers what they want and feeding tomorrow’s consumers in a sustainable way for years to come. No one knows exactly what the future of food will look like. This is why we are exploring new approaches.