The Plant-Based Patty That Bleeds: Impossible Foods Newest Creation

On April 7th, 2019, I had the privilege of visiting Splitsville, Disney Springs. There is a restaurant and bar within the Splitsville attraction that houses the best plant-based burger I have tasted to date.

 

The name of it is The Impossible Burger and it was created by Impossible Foods: a Silicon Valley startup based out of California. As I began eating, I understood how the burger got its name. The texture, taste, look, and feel of the burger is nothing like any other plant-based burger I have tasted before. It was savory, juicy, and had the aroma of a real beef patty. I could not believe that I wasn’t eating real meat.

 

Let’s start with the fact that it bleeds!

 

 

I know what you’re thinking: “It can’t possibly be a plant-based burger if there’s blood, right?” Well, yes. Impossible Foods created the burger using genetic engineering, which technically means that the burger was produced using GMO’s. Within recent years, arguments have formed that GMO’s are harmful to the human body, and Impossible Foods made sure to debunk the rumors of a harmful product before they even started.

 

The company achieved this by using a protein derivative called ‘heme’ from soy roots. Heme is an essential nutrient that can be found in many proteins and even in our bodies! Hemoglobin, a blood molecule, is what stores heme and aids it in distributing oxygen throughout the body, coloring our blood red, and carrying iron. If you are a meat-eater, most of the heme you consume will come from the animals you eat.

 

After discovering a protein-based derivative that could give their burgers a meaty-like appearance, texture, and taste, the company thought they’d reached their Eureka! moment; however, Impossible Foods encountered a problem when they realized the amount of heme that soy roots can produce is minuscule. Thus, leading them to genetically modify the ingredients of the burger.

 

Pat Brown, the CEO of Impossible Foods decided to tweak the DNA of yeast so that it creates more heme. It may sound odd but it's more common to use genetically modified yeast for products than you think. Take insulin, for instance. It’s a compound used by diabetics to regulate blood sugar levels and is processed through the usage of genetically modified yeast.

 

Since trying the Impossible burger for the first time, I thought ‘what is this genetically modified burger doing to my body?’ ‘Is it actually a healthier alternative than eating red meat?’ Well, according to the research, Impossible Burgers digest in your stomach the same way any other food would. There are 20 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of sugar, and only 220 calories in one patty. The misconceptions of the Impossible Burger being tied to cancerous effects began with the heme component, but according to the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Health Organization, there’s only a strong link to red meat and cancer, not heme alone.

 

 

Things are still looking promising for the company. Impossible Foods is currently observing the public response to the burger by implementing its product on fast food menus. On April 1st, Impossible Foods introduced the Impossible Whopper in 59 Burger Kings in the St. Louis area. This strategic marketing plan allows people to experience the flavor of a Burger King Whopper without actually eating red meat and support the Impossible Burger simultaneously. Some of you may be experiencing the impossible-ness of the Impossible Burger sooner than you think.