Photo: Better Than Beef by Don Lee Farms

A year or two ago, when you wanted to taste one of the new, ultra-meat plant-based burgers you could basically choose between Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods — assuming you were in one of the areas where one or both was available. A few months ago, you’d have a couple more options, like Lightlife and Meatless Farm.

But over the past four weeks alone (yes, just September), the faux burger space has virtually exploded with new players, all trying to take advantage of consumers’ burgeoning desire for plant-based meat. Six, to be exact. To help you keep track and figure out which alt-meat burgers to keep an eye out for in the grocery aisle, we’ve rounded ’em up for you:

“Protein Patties” from Trader Joe’s
A few weeks ago a Trader Joe’s employee posted on Facebook that the beloved grocery chain would soon launch its own meaty plant-based burger called “Protein Patties.” According to VegNews, the patties will contain 18 grams of protein each, and two-pack of the 4-ounce burgers will cost $4.99. The price is notable: the vast majority of meaty plant-based burgers out there, like Lightlife and Beyond Meat, cost $5.99 for a two-pack. Trader Joe’s can push its faux burgers in its store, which attract droves of consumers — especially millennials and Gen Z — because of its low prices, cheery staff and cult-status snack products.

“Better Than Beef” from Don Lee Farms
News broke last week that Costco would start selling Don Lee Farms’ Better Than Beef plant-based burgers in select locations. According to a press release, the new burgers will be available at Costco stores in six Western states, Texas grocery chain H-E-B and other retailers. No numbers were provided, but the same release stated that the burgers will have “the lowest calories, fat and saturated fat compared to other leading brands.” Don Lee Farms was one of the original copackers for Beyond and is now involved in a lawsuit with the plant-based meat company.

“Incogmeato” from MorningStar Farms
Earlier this month MorningStar Farms, a subsidiary of the Kellogg Company which has been making meat alternatives for over 40 years, announced it would launch a new line of meatier plant-based meats in retail in 2020. Called “Incogmeato,” the new line includes faux beef burgers as well as frozen chik’n tenders and nuggets. Though MorningStar Farms has been in the alt-meat biz for quite a while, their Incogmeato burger will be its first cook-from-fresh product, which will be sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

The Awesome Burger by Sweet Earth Foods (Photo: Hardy Wilson)

“Awesome Burger” from Sweet Earth Foods (Nestlé)
Just last week Sweet Earth Foods, a U.S. company owned by CPG giant Nestlé, announced it would start selling its meaty plant-based Awesome Burger in foodservice and retail on October 1st. This is Nestlé’s first foray into more realistic alt-meat burgers in the U.S., but in Europe the Swiss company already sells the plant-based Incredible Burger to a variety of foodservice spots, including McDonald’s locations in Israel and Germany. The Awesome Burger has 26 grams of protein and a two-pack of the patties will likely retail for $5.99.

“Simple Truth Plant Based” by Kroger
At the Good Food Conference earlier this month Kroger, the largest grocer in the U.S., announced that it would soon debut its own line of plant-based products under its Simple Truth brand. In addition to alt-meat staples like burgers, the Simple Truth Plant Based line will also include cookie dough, creamy dips, and more, all with a pea protein base. The animal-free product line will debut at 1,800 Kroger stores this fall.

“Happy Little Plants” by Hormel
It’s not a pre-formed burger per se, but this month Hormel Foods, owner of brands like Skippy peanut butter, announced the launch of its Happy Little Plants line. Its first product will be a plant-based ground “meat” product that can be turned into meatballs, tacos, pasta sauce and, yes, burgers. Happy Little Plants are currently available in Hy-Vee grocery stores in select states.

If you want to know more about the plant-based revolution and the eater of the future, you better get one of the last tickets to the Smart Kitchen Summit {SKS} in Seattle next week! We’ll see you there. 

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