A burger that’s vegetarian, but that tastes like sweet, juicy meat? That’s Impossible Foods’ lofty goal — one it arguably achieved with the aptly named Impossible Burger, which hit restaurants around the country last year and the year prior. Now, after soliciting feedback from chefs and consumers alike, the Redwood City company is rolling out an improved recipe that it’s dubbed Impossible Burger 2.0.
Impossible Foods founder and CEO Dr. Patrick Brown announced the new burger at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the company plans to serve attendees more than 12,000 patties out of a food truck parked near the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“The newest Impossible Burger delivers everything that matters to hard-core meat lovers, including taste, nutrition and versatility,” Dr. Brown said. “This is the plant-based meat that will eliminate the need for animals in the food chain and make the global food system sustainable.”
So what’s changed? Well, Impossible Foods says the new plant-based patty has as much iron and protein as a comparable serving of ground beef from cows. Furthermore, it says it contains no cholesterol, only 13 grams of fat, and 240 calories in a quarter-pound serving. That’s compared to the 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 23 grams of fat, and 290 calories in an average meat patty.
It’s also “optimized” for any ground meat dish. Whereas the first-gen Impossible Burger was designed for flat-top cooking at restaurants, Impossible Foods says the new patty retains its texture and juiciness — thanks to soy protein, instead of the original’s wheat protein — throughout the cooking process.
The Impossible Burger 2.0 also doesn’t have gluten, hormones, or antibiotics, and is kosher- and halal-certified. And just like the first-gen Impossible Burger, it contains heme, the molecule responsible for meat’s unctuous flavor. Heme, for the uninitiated, forms the nonprotein part of hemoglobin — the red protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood in vertebrates — but Impossible Foods isolates it by genetically engineering and fermenting yeast to produce soy leghemoglobin, a hemoglobin equivalent.
It holds its own in a taste test. According to Impossible Foods, over 1,000 self-identified “heavy meat eaters” from the West Coast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic expressed a preference for the Impossible Burger 2.0 in a blind taste test. When asked to rate the patty on “likeability” compared to a conventional meat patty from an unnamed major grocery chain made with 80/20 ground beef, the new Impossible Burger scored as high as burgers from cows.
“In addition to taste tests with consumers conducted by independent researchers, Impossible Foods’ own flavor scientists and sensory experts conduct at least 100 internal taste tests per week,” Impossible Foods chief science officer Dr. David Lipman said. “We are relentless in our quest to consistently improve the Impossible Burger. The cow simply can’t compete.”
So, wondering where — and when — you can get your hands on the Impossible Burger 2.0? Impossible Foods told members of the press that the new recipe will be available to all restaurants in the U.S. through major food distributors starting February 4.
Here’s a list of the restaurants that will be serving it:
- Chef Tae Strain’s Momofuku CCDC in Washington DC
- Chef Traci Des Jardins’ Jardinière and School Night (San Francisco)
- Chef Brad Farmerie’s Saxon + Parole (New York City)
- Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s Border Grill (California and Nevada)
- Chef Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese Food (New York City)
- Chef Chris Cosentino’s Cockscomb (San Francisco) and Jackrabbit (Portland, Ore.)
- Chef Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads Kitchen (Los Angeles)
- Chef Michael Symon’s B Spot burger restaurants (Ohio)
- Chef Sarah Schafer’s Irving Street Kitchen (Portland, Ore.)
- Chef Jeremy Kittelson’s Linger (Denver)
- Chef Tony Priolo’s Maillard Tavern (Chicago)
- Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s Little Donkey (Boston)
- Hospitality entrepreneur Kyle Brechtel’s Copper Vine (New Orleans)
- Chef Jennifer Carroll’s Spice Finch (Philadelphia)
- Chef Pete Blohme’s Sunset Pointe (Fairhope, Alabama)
Impossible Foods says that, by March, the more than 100 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau and 5,000 locations in the U.S. that currently serve the Impossible Burger — including Umami Burger, Bareburger, Wahlburgers, The Counter, Fatburger, Gott’s, and White Castle — will get the new recipe. Additionally, it says that it’ll bring the Impossible Burger 2.0 to Singapore in the coming months, with additional markets to follow.
And if you prefer to do your own cooking, good news: The Impossible Burger 2.0 will hit select U.S. grocery stores later this year.
“Impossible Burger fans told us loud and clear they wanted a gluten-free burger that was at least as nutritious as meat from animals,” Dr. Sue Klapholz, Impossible Foods vice president of nutrition and health, said. “Our new product delivers all the taste meat lovers crave — without compromise to nutrition or the planet.”