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Let’s jump right in. Last week The Spoon’s Managing Editor Chris Albrecht drove to his local Burger King, tried an Impossible Whopper, and wrote about his experience. It was without question The Spoon’s most clicked-on post in months.
The review’s popularity shows that people are very curious about the Impossible Whopper. However, Chris was a little “meh” on the plant-based burger. In the post, he wrote:
It was… fine. I mean, it was good, but it’s missing some of the deep flavor complexity and texture of ground beef, and the Impossible patty was a little more dry. It definitely wouldn’t fool a meat eater.
Not everyone was as underwhelmed by their taste test experience with the Impossible Whopper. The Spoon founder Mike Wolf also gave the plant-based patty a try, and he thought it did a great job approximating the telltale “charbroiled” taste of a BK burger. So while the Impossible Whopper might not be a great burger in its own right, it does a pretty good job of approximating a Whopper.
Regardless of its shortcomings, people are flocking to the BK Lounge to try the Impossible Whopper for themselves. Which made me wonder: Once all fast-food places roll out their own plant-based meat options (besides Arby’s, obvi), will consumers make their dining choices based off of their allegiance to a particular meatless meat brand? For example, will they hit up Burger King to try the Impossible Whopper over Carl’s Jr., which serves a Beyond Famous Star Burger?
Maybe not at first. Unless you’re reporting on these companies day-in, day-out (hi!), you might not have a strong preference for one brand of plant-based over another. At this point, many consumers categorize both Beyond and Impossible under the same umbrella: newfangled “bleeding” vegan burgers.
However, as people get more and more familiar with the various meatless meat brands, they’ll likely establish preferences based off of subtle taste differences, ingredients, or texture, especially once new realistic meat alternatives come to market.
And if you think that those small details aren’t a big deal, you should see what happens when a server asks me, a die-hard Coca-Cola fan, “Is Pepsi fine?” (No, it is not.)
Got (blended) milk?
You might have heard about blended meats, but what about blended milk? This week, Live Real Farms, a brand from the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), announced the launch a blended dairy product that’s 50 percent cow milk and 50 percent oat or almond milk.
Tyson made a similar move when it developed its Raised + Rooted product line, which features a blended burger made of 50 percent beef 50 percent plants. A major organization known for animal products acknowledging the popularity of alternative proteins by meeting it somewhere in the middle.
The DFA product is currently available in only Minnesota and will roll out nationwide in 2020. Once it does, I’ll be so curious to see whether or not the blends resonate with consumers. If people use different milks for different purposes — cow milk in their coffee, almond milk in their cereal, etc. — will they be willing to chuck them all in favor of a new catch-all?
We’ll see. But personally, I’ll stick to Oatly.
Protein ’round the web
- Is butter the next animal product alternative primed for innovation? Scientists at Cornell seem to think so (h/t MarketResearchFinance).
- JUST is bringing its plant-based egg scramble to Kroger as consumers warm to egg alternatives.
- Last week Perfect Day hit the road in L.A. to share its flora-based ice cream for the first time since its limited edition product launch in July.
- Uni, or sea urchin gonads, is considered a delicacy. Now a Japanese food company is trying to make it out of plants (via VegNews).
That’s it from me this week!