Today at CES 2020 Impossible Foods, maker of the plant-based “bleeding” burger, unveiled its newest product: pork. Impossible’s plant-based pork is gluten-free and has 16 grams of protein and 13 grams of fat per 4-ounce serving. The company also announced its plant-based sausage, which will debut later this month at 139 Burger King restaurants, which already sell the Impossible Whopper, in the form of a sausage croissan’wich.
Last year at CES, Impossible Foods surprised everyone when it stole the show and won the Best of the Best CES 2019 award for its meatless burger. (We were there at the unveil, and it tasted delicious.) This year they’re hoping to top that by revealing an entirely new product. Like its ground beef, Impossible pork contains heme, a genetically engineered product that gives meat its savory flavor. However, it contains less of the molecule than its beef.
Considering that Impossible is trying to move into the Chinese market, its decision to tackle pork makes a lot of sense. Impossible’s CEO Pat Brown had previously stated that the company already had a “very good prototype of plant-based pork,” though the company has also said it’s developing fish and steak. From a practical standpoint, it’s also a much easier jump to go from ground beef to ground pork than to develop something with an entirely new texture, like chicken.
Impossible is also smart to move into ground pork while it’s still a relative white space. The biggest competitor is probably Omnipork — though not in the U.S. The Hong Kong-based company is developing plant-based pork specifically for Asian palates and doesn’t yet sell outside of the Asian continent. In terms of sausage, adding a plant-based option will help Burger King compete with Dunkin’, which began selling Beyond Meat sausage sandwiches at all of its locations late in 2019.
But I know what you’re all wondering: How did it taste? Honestly, it was awesome — a viable stand-in for ground pork. I sampled the new product in a variety of preparations: meatballs, banh mi, dan dan noodles, and nestled in a bao. It’s slightly less juicy and fatty than traditional pork, and is lacking a distinct, well, porkiness. But the texture and pale pink color are spot-on, and it’s a good neutral palate for a variety of preparations and sauces. I’ll definitely order it when it comes onto menus.
There’s no word on when the Impossible pork will head to menus, outside of the Burger King sausage launch. We also don’t know how much either product will cost. But for the lucky folks at CES this week, you can give the new plant-based pork a try; Impossible will be cooking up samples from January 7-10th in the Las Vegas Convention Center.