Photo: Like Meat

By Janay Laing

You know the Impossible Burger. You may have grilled up Beyond Meat. But what about the Awesome, Alpha and Uncut Burgers? Which plant-based burgers have the most protein? Which are organic and non-GMO? With so many animal-free burgers hitting the market, it’s time to sort them all out.

Here’s how over 20 brands stacked up:

What’s the Most Delicious Plant-Based Burger?

The Impossible Burger

Taste test after taste test, the Impossible Burger dominates the pack in appearance, juiciness, aroma, and spot-on beefy deliciousness. And now that it’s hitting Walmart, more people can get it than ever before.

The chaos. The shock. The unbridled joy. In case you haven’t heard, there’s been a major earthquake in the fried chicken world. On Monday, KFC announced they were taking a bold step into the audacious realm of plant-based meat, and partnered with Beyond Meat to test out chicken-free chicken at a single location near Atlanta, GA.

If you couldn’t make it to Atlanta, these tweets show exactly what went down:

1. The Approach

Photo: Impossible Foods

It is February 2017, and in less than a year, we’ve already witnessed two major leaps forward for meat innovation. First, in May 2016 Beyond Meat convinced Whole Foods to place the plant protein-based Beyond Burger smack-dab in the middle of their meat department, a bold and unprecedented move that finally took high-quality plant meats outside the hippie-dippy “Alternative Meats” section and allowed them to directly compete with animal-based counterparts for shoppers’ attention.

And now this: The Impossible Burger, the famed “bleeding” veggie burger-that’s-not-a-veggie burger made by Silicon Valley geniuses at Impossible Foods has earned a Michelin star. Sort of…

Memphis Meats is making meat from cells instead of animals. Memphis Meats

Today, most meat, milk and eggs come from huge, destructive and inhumane farms. But this group of fearless and ingenious innovators changed all that in 2017 and made animal products more healthy, sustainable and humane. Let’s go!

There may be no product as closely associated with wholesome virtue and innocence as a refreshing glass of milk. For 100 years or so, drinking milk has represented a simple ideal of bucolic farms, old-time animal husbandry, and honest-to-goodness nourishment. Unfortunately, the actual picture of the modern dairy farm is far less quaint. Today, most milk comes from massive industrial operations, where hundreds or thousands of cows on crowded farms are made to produce unnaturally large quantities of milk in a near-constant, year-round cycle.

(Conventional) meat for sale

From its striking colors, beautiful striations, and amazing layers of marbling and fat, meat is truly an wondrous thing. That’s why figuring out how to culture it without animals is such an exciting challenge!

For cultured meat researchers, meat’s complex structure of muscle fibers and intricate network of blood vessels and fat cells are like a massive puzzle to be carefully studied, understood and painstakingly reproduced. Thankfully, this crucial investigational work has already begun, and we can look forward to a day when large cuts of meat, like the steaks, filets, and roasts above, are grown directly from cultured tissue, no animals necessary!

Innovating meat and making it better and more sustainable is a bit like scaling Mount Everest — a daunting challenge with many serious obstacles, but the long, hard struggle is well worth reaching the summit!

The Impossible Burger

A little over two weeks ago, David Chang broke new culinary ground when he introduced the Impossible Burger at his Momofuku Nishi restaurant in New York. Normally a chef adding a new burger to a menu isn’t particularly newsworthy, except this happened to be a menu item like no other: the Impossible Burger is the 5-years-in-the-making product of Impossible Foods, a California startup that openly aims to disrupt conventional, unsustainable meat production by making meat from plants instead of animals. If this sounds radical to you, many New Yorkers seemed to agree, and were highly skeptical when Impossible Foods announced…

Plant Butchers are a new band of butchers using plant proteins to show the world the art of plant-based carnivory. Warning: Your meat might never be the same

1. Korean Ribs @ The Herbivorous Butcher (Minneapolis)


Zagat recently called these sugar-glazed, slow-smoked ribs “the gateway drug to meatless meats”

2. Fried Meatball and Mozzarella Hoagies @ The Butcher’s Son (Berkeley, CA)

Courtesy: Impossible Foods

You might call it the Manhattan Project of food. It’s been the subject of breathless whispers, rumors and speculation throughout Silicon Valley and beyond. They’ve attracted tons of press and generated major waves on social media, including a now legendary viral video. And this summer, Impossible Foods is finally getting ready to take center stage. That’s because this most mysterious and uber-funded startup will launch the product it has obsessively worked on for over 3 years, and could change how we look at meat forever.

It all started in 2011, when renowned Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown desired to turn his…

John F. Kennedy once said, when speaking about America’s dream of landing a man on the moon:

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

That is the perfect epitome of what drives animal-free food innovation. Many times, the most important dreams, goals, and aspirations we have are also the most difficult and challenging to achieve. But that is precisely what makes them worth striving for.

Fifteen years ago, when the destructive nature of meat production was well-known but useful alternatives were few…

Janay Laing is the founder of The New Omnivore — an organization that promotes making meat, dairy and eggs with plants or biotechnology.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store