From Our Chefs

Meatless Meat

Nothing’s Impossible… except maybe the burger (meat-less) that you're eating

impossible burger, meatless meat, plant based burger
Meatless Burger!

The plant based, meat-alternative company, Impossible, took the food industry by storm this past year. They've since formed impressive collaborations with big players such as Burger King and Qdoba. A major competitor, Beyond Meat, has secured deals with KFC. They have since created Beyond KFC Chicken.

In this day and age you can hit your local fast food drive through and find a vegetarian option beyond french fries. But what it is exactly that you're eating can be confusing.

This week we break down popular meat alternative brands and what you can expect to come next in today’s “flexitarian” climate.

Beyond Fried Chicken

What they’re not:

These alternatives are just that. Alternatives to meat. They’re not a new superfood. They’re not lab grown animal cells (although that may be coming in the future). And they’re certainly not a veggie burger. The meaty taste and texture is meant to replace a dietary staple for millions of people, regardless of their opinions on veganism. If alternative milks were wave one, alternative meats are wave two.

Why now?

With sustainability, health, and ethics standing as deep priorities for younger generations, these issues are growing in importance to society as a whole. The current environmental crisis and rising antibiotic resistance are two major issues that reducing the consumption of animal products are believed to help improve. The industry has finally caught on that not everyone is going to give up their cheeseburger at lunch for a vegan-gluten-free-kale-quinoa-superfood-salad. The targeting of traditional meat eaters and fast food restaurants paired with increasing knowledge and technology has created an environment for this trend to explode.

Are they good for you?

Okay, let’s set one thing straight. If your top priority is health, maybe avoid the Burger King. Actually just avoid the burger in general and settle for that ridiculous salad we mentioned earlier. Processed food is processed food, even if it’s made from processed plants. With that being said, the cattle industry is notorious for feeding antibiotics, growth hormones and other toxins to the animals. The antibiotics can enter into the bloodstream and into your body if you eat a cow that’s been treated as such. A plant based alternative doesn’t carry the same harmful toxins.

Are they good for the environment?

The answer here is an outstanding yes. 15% of carbon emissions today come from livestock. Vox magazine states that, “meatless meat can make a huge difference for the environment by almost every metric, including land use, water use, and fighting climate change [...] In general, you have to feed an animal 10 calories of plants to get one calorie of meat, so you can expect plant-based foods to have about a tenth the carbon costs of animal-based foods.”


It’s still too early to tell, but we’re guessing the alternative meat trend is more than a passing fad. The leading factor of success for Impossible, Beyond and other growing alternative meat brands right now is taste. While the reviews are somewhat mixed, the biggest takeaway is that the “meat” tastes uncannily like the real deal. So what’s your take? Have you tried the Impossible Whopper or Beyond KFC Fried Chicken? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by following @collegechefs!

Still curious about meat trends?

Read our previous blog post here about grass-fed/ grass-finished beef.

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