Early plant-based food maker Tofurky, which turns 40 this year, today launched its own beef-like burger, joining the likes of Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Nestle’s Sweet Earth, Kellogg’s Incogmeato and many others — it’s a crowded space, to say the least.
The company actually brought a formless beef alternative product to the market late last year, Forbes reports, but it was soon scrapped. Its new faux beef product includes two patties made of a combination of soy protein, vegetable protein and wheat gluten and lightly seasoned with salt, onion, garlic and black pepper. It is available now at more than 600 Target locations for $5.99.
Tofurky said in the release that its burgers have a more sustainable footprint than the competition since it uses all parts of the soybean. That’s not the case when it comes to pea protein, the primary ingredient used by Beyond Meat, Tofurky said. And unlike Impossible, Tofurky’s ingredients are non-GMO (FYI, no evidence exists to suggest that GMOs are harmful to humans). Tofurky also points to the sustainability of its packaging: “recyclable cartons that tout 23 percent less paperboard material, and inner packaging [that] has 69 percent less plastic film waste than others in the space.”
So why launch a faux meat burger now? Apparently, to capitalize on people resolving to eat less meat in the new year. “Many flexitarians resolve to go completely plant-based for the month of January, so we wanted to provide a new burger option now, ahead of summer grilling, that is affordable, delicious, and accessible,” said Jaime Athos, president and CEO of Tofurky.
The increasing popularity of the plant-based alternatives space has been kind to Tofurky, which for the first time in its history accepted private investment last year after seeing increased demand for its products. Tofurky also saw more good news when Mississippi pulled back on a proposed restrictive food labeling law that would have prevented plant-based companies from using words such as “burger,” “hot dog” and even “meat” on their packaging. The company had been part of a group suing the state as well as several others over similar proposed laws.
We’ll have to see if Tofurky’s hot streak continues and consumers embrace its burger.