I was bored, so I not-so-blind taste tested an Impossible Whopper against the real thing. It did not in any way taste like a real burger. But that’s not the important point.
It wasn’t particularly good either, and that’s more to the point. If I were craving a hamburger, it would not have hit the spot. On the other hand, the real Whopper did not in any way taste like a real burger, nor did it taste all that good. Between the two, I slightly prefer the Impossible Burger, and that’s the point.
I didn’t test them against each other, but I do wonder how the Impossible burger would fair against McDonald’s. All else being equal, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the Impossible burger tastes mildly better than a McDonald’s hamburger. However, things are not equal. While I’ve maybe eaten at Burger King just a handful of times in my life, McDonald’s is my childhood fast food. My gut tells me the nostalgia of McDonald’s as comfort food would overcome the mildly more mediocre Impossible burger.
I’m not sure what the future holds when it comes to natural meat vs. faux-meat. I certainly hope that we don’t do anything silly as a society and start a meat prohibition. However, there may be a place in our collective diet for faux meat.
The important thing will not be whether the new challenger tastes just like natural meat, but instead that it tastes good in its own right. In that way, many may start replacing some natural meats in their diet with these new products. I feel that low quality processed meets like fast food hamburgers, ground meats and “mystery” meats could be particularly susceptible to alternatives that just try to be tasty proteins.
In my brief conversations with a few vegetarians, they have not cared for Impossible or Beyond meats because they simply aren’t interested in food that tastes like meat. They want a veggie patty because it tastes like a veggie patty and not a burger.
Similarly, my office cafeteria serves some chickpea-based “chick'n nuggets.” I’m glad to grab a few, not because they taste like actual chicken nuggets, but because they don’t and instead they simply taste good for what they are.
I think the future of faux meat is just to taste good for what it is and not try to be a lesser “meat” that just doesn’t quite live up to its claim.