With the accessibility of dairy and gluten-free alternatives on the rise, it was only a matter of time before a plant-based stand-in for meat made its debut in the marketplace — its bloody debut, in fact.
As of May 24, the first “bleeding” veggie burger has arrived on the scene. The company Beyond Meat has begun slinging the Beyond Burger — a plant-based alternative to the traditional hamburger that actually bleeds thanks to the inclusion of pulverized beets, according to The New York Times.
Available at a Whole Foods in Boulder, Colorado, the Beyond Burger will be packaged as two four-ounce patties for $5.99, and can be found alongside the case where poultry, beef, lamb and pork are sold.
According to Tom Rich, the vegetarian vice president of purchasing and distribution in the Denver region of Whole Foods Market, the Beyond Burger “tasted and felt and chewed like any other burger,” reports the New York Times.
“…And on some level, I just want to be able to eat the same way everyone else eats.”
According to Beyond Meat, the new plant-based burger “looks, cooks, and tastes like ground beef,” includes 20 grams of plant protein, is 100% vegan, and contains no GMOs, soy, or gluten.
“This is what I had in mind when I started the company,” said Beyond Meat-founder Ethan Brown to the New York Times.
“I want as many people as possible to have access to our products. My goals go way beyond food.”
While Beyond Meat has been offering up a variety of veggie-alternatives to meat since 2009 (such as those from Morningstar Farms and Amy’s), the Beyond Burger was a result of the company’s desire to simulate a “fresh” burger than could be refrigerated, according to the New York Times.
“It’s hard to reduce flavor and aroma to an equation, particularly when you need a solution that is simple and flexible,” said Joseph Puglisi, a professor of structural biology at Stanford University, reports The New York Times.
“We were able to get fat distributed throughout a patty — but in meat, fat is distributed in sheets,” he said. “Plants don’t have ligaments.”
For now, the Beyond Burger is only available in Whole Foods in Boulder, where for two weeks a team from Beyond Meat will be on location to grill the Beyond Burgers and listen to customers’ reactions, reports The New York Times; eventually, it will become available in other Whole Foods retailers in the region.