The first thing fans of Beyond Meat (of whom I am one) should know is that the company knows their product is hard to find and they are working on it. Beyond Meat just brought on a second production facility in Missouri to help fill the empty aisles at your local grocery store (except for you, England — sorry!).
The second thing fans of Beyond Meat should know is that its forthcoming sausage patty is, to this writer, the best product the company has created so far. It’s still in development with no announced release date, but after tasting it at the Beyond Meat R&D facility in El Segundo yesterday I’m convinced this product is a game changer in the alterna-meat category. In fact, I think it could bring in a whole new line of business for the company. But more on that in a minute.
Inside the Beyond Meat HQ, you can see the real science behind fake meat. PhDs in lab coats run samples of pea proteins through microscopes, while others try to replicate aromatic meat molecules from the plant world, while still others put patties in a machine that replicates chewing (or biting — two very different things) to test for elasticity. The team there is constantly iterating and running tests to make its plant-based products more meat-like.
The Beyond Meat tour featured a stop in its kitchen, where the company’s chefs whipped up some their burgers, brats and sausage patties for me to try. These were high-end creations piled with truffles, carmelized onions, pickles, and a variety of delectable sauces. And while all were delicious, the sausage patty really stood out.
Made from peas, mung beans, brown rice and sunflower seeds, the patty faithfully recreated the experience of eating a sausage biscuit from McDonald’s. And I mean that as high praise. It had nice peppery tones that gave the patty’s flavor some depth, the right color and smell, and a crust that gave it that slight crunch. To be honest, it’s a much better simulacra than the Beyond brats, which, while good, were over-engineered to the point of feeling synthetic.
Getting the patty right isn’t just about flavor, though. For Beyond Meat it also means entering into a new category: breakfast foods. Right now, the company offers plenty of options for lunch and dinner; the addition of the sausage patty could lead to people eating Beyond products multiple times a day. (Perhaps a Beyond sausage patty would go well with some JUST plant-based eggs in the morning.)
The Beyond rep didn’t provide a timeline for the patty’s release, but my guess is that it probably won’t be until next year, given that the company is still wresting with its existing supply issues and expanding availability for its sausage brats line.
For fans of Beyond Meat though, the wait will be worth it.