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Why does ImpossibleTM Burger taste like meat?

Impossible burger patties being formed on a distribution line

Impossible™ Burger is a cult classic that is loved by consumers of all ages who actively seek it out for its flavor, quality & meat-like performance. Because our meat is made from plants, people often think the Impossible Burger is for vegans or vegetarians. While we love vegans, our goal isn't to create another plant-based burger that satisfies their preferences. We knew if we wanted to radically transform the global food system, we would need to create a product that tastes like meat, for people who love meat, without the impacts of meat made from animals.

That’s why over 90% of Impossible Foods consumers identify as meat-eaters. 

As we scale our processes to meet the growing demand (while also dropping prices(opens in a new tab) to distributors), we hear more customers asking: 'How do you make Impossible Burger taste like meat?' Today, we're spilling our secrets.

History of Meaty Meat Made From Plants

We founded Impossible Foods with the following mission: find out what makes meat taste like meat, and then aim to make it better— from plants. Our team of scientists, researchers, and chefs have spent years researching animal meat at a molecular level to learn how it “works”. In our 6 years of research, we discovered that heme(opens in a new tab) is the molecule responsible for generating the unmistakable flavor and aroma of cooked meat.

Heme, along with other plant-based ingredients, create a burger that is delicious and uses a fraction of the land, water and energy required for ground beef.

So, what is heme?

Heme(opens in a new tab) is what makes meat taste like meat. It’s an essential molecule found in every living plant and animal and something we’ve been eating since the dawn of humanity. Heme is what gives meat from animals (and our product) its unmistakably meaty flavo(opens in a new tab)r and juicy texture. It’s found in a protein called hemoglobin which gives blood the ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. 

Because our mission is to create a food system that doesn’t rely on animal agriculture, we had to find a source of heme from plants that matched the properties of heme from animals. We surveyed heme proteins(opens in a new tab) from many plants and found the right one in soybeans—specifically soybean roots. 

In order to feed the planet in the most sustainable and scalable way possible, we generate heme by fermentation of genetically engineered yeast. The result is a magic ingredient that gives Impossible Burger the satisfying, crave-worthy aroma and taste of beef.

Watch this short video(opens in a new tab) to learn more about how we make heme. 

Impossible Burger is for Meat Lovers

Meat eaters love Impossible Burger because it tastes like ground beef from cows*. Life-long vegetarians or vegans… not so much(opens in a new tab). Their complaint? ‘It tastes too much like meat,’ which to us is a high compliment. What do chefs, food critics and vegans think about Impossible Burger? Here’s what some of them have to say.

What do chefs think?

“The Impossible Burger really blew me away with how it looks like meat, smells like meat. As far as I'm concerned, it’s meat.” -Chef Steve Banbury, Hopdoddy

"Nobody will miss the beef, Impossible (Burger) is delicious! It's just a damn tasty burger! I loved that Impossible (Burger) can be seared on the outside with a rosie juicy inside, just like a medium cooked beef burger" - Chef Craig Wong, Patois

“[Impossible™ Meat] handles like the most impressive product I’ve ever worked with. It has no shrinkage. It has juiciness. It has everything that you want in a meal. It is definitely the star of the show.” -Chef Mimi

What do the food critics have to say?

“The Impossible Burger wins the fake meat-off if your goal is to replicate beef as closely as possible. It's the heme that makes this particular contest no contest. Impossible Version 2.0 is so close to the real thing in taste and texture that it is sometimes hard to tell the difference. “ - Mashable(opens in a new tab)

“I found that the Impossible™ patty tasted a lot more similar to beef than the Beyond patty. The Impossible Burger was charred on the outside with a pink center, just like beef, and had a juicier patty. If I closed my eyes and pretended, I could definitely be mistaken for real meat.” - Thrillist(opens in a new tab)

“Our culinary Sherlocks detected the [Impossible Burger’s] much-lauded steaklike ooze. “Juicy” was the consensus about the patty, which struck a meatlike pose by having a convincingly slightly pink center and browned exterior. - The Washington Post(opens in a new tab)

What about vegans and vegetarians? 

“I find [Impossible Burger] to be very real in taste and texture, which can be confusing to me, and I often find myself checking it to make sure it’s not a real burger!” Heather Nessinger, a vegetarian of about seven years told Chowhound(opens in a new tab).

Tweet from @6milesup(opens in a new tab)

Twitter conversation(opens in a new tab)

Tweet from @abbyandrewYT(opens in a new tab)

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*In a home usage study, 70% of 254 US consumers who cooked with Impossible Burger thought the taste was comparable to or better than ground beef from cows

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