Plant-based burgers have taken the world by storm, but if you thought beef would be the only offering… buckle up. At 2020’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Impossible Foods, creator of the Impossible Burger, announced its second foray into replacing animals with plants: Impossible Foods pork.
The new frontier of alt-meat will include Impossible Pork Made from Plants and Impossible Sausage Made from Plants. The company says both options are made for sautéeing, stuffing spring rolls, jazzing up vegetables, folding into dumplings, and more. The first tasting of Impossible Pork will happen at CES, but Impossible Foods tells Well+Good that the sausage will be test-launched at 139 Burger restaurants in five cities: Savannah, Georgia; Lansing, Michigan; Springfield, Illinois; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Montgomery, Alabama. No wide-release date has been announced.
“Impossible Foods cracked meat’s molecular code—starting with ground beef, which is intrinsic to the American market. Now we’re accelerating the expansion of our product portfolio to more of the world’s favorite foods,” said Impossible Foods’ CEO and founder Patrick Brown, PhD, MD, in a press release. “We won’t stop until we eliminate the need for animals in the food chain and make the global food system sustainable.”
The decision to go after barbecue and hot dogs next makes perfect sense. Not only is pork the most widely eaten animal in the world, but the industry itself wreaks havoc on our natural resources. Research suggests that beef proves the most demanding on the environment by leaps and bounds, but pork takes its own toll. The nitrogen and phosphorus in pig manure have been found to contaminate soil and water, pork’s water footprint comes it at a whopping 5,988 liters per kilogram (or, about 5,988 liters per 2.2 pounds of meat), and account for 0.34 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. “Pork is delicious and ubiquitous—but problematic for billions of people and the planet at large,” said Laura Kliman, PhD, a senior flavor scientist at Impossible Foods. And Kliman tells Well+Good that the plant-based alternative has the potential to reach even more people than the original.
People who reject pork for religious reasons (Impossible Pork’s design makes it eligible for kosher and halal certification) may be able to enjoy the manufactured emulation of the flavor at a nutritional profile that’s much healthier.
“Nutritionally, sustainably, and ethically speaking, the Impossible Pork wins when compared to conventional pork,” says Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD. “The conventional pork has almost triple the amount of total fat than Impossible Pork [32 grams versus 13 grams] which is why it’s a no brainer to occasionally swap out conventional pork for Impossible Pork when it comes to protecting your heart health and reducing the risk of other chronic diseases.”
That means traditionally meat-heavy brunches and cookouts are about to get a little more healthy and a lot more environmentally-conscious. “As always, take a look at your entire diet because you completely overhaul it with plant-based—and sometimes highly processed—options,” says Beckerman.
How the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger compare in terms of nutrition:
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