Beyond Meat changed the vegan meat game when they launched the Beyond Burger in 2016.
The Beyond Burger made national headlines as the “bleeding burger” made exclusively from plants AND being sold alongside real beef patties in the meat section.
Although the Beyond Burger is a vegan product, it’s not just for vegans. Now that the Beyond Burger is available at thousands of U.S. fast-food and restaurant locations, meat lovers are wondering whether or not they should give the bleeding plant-based burger a try.
What’s are in the ingredients in the Beyond Burger? Does it taste like meat? Is it healthy?
Here are all of your questions about the Beyond Burger answered.
What is the Beyond Burger?
The Beyond Burger is an all-vegan substitute for traditional beef patties. It’s made entirely of plants with the main ingredient coming from pea protein.
From the package to your plate, the Beyond Burger looks, feels and cooks like a real beef burger. It even bleeds like raw beef and has a pink center! However, no animals were harmed in the making of this beefy burger.
The Beyond Burger is on the rise as a popular meat substitute because of its umami flavor and lesser impact on the environment. It’s also marketed as a healthier alternative to meat.
History of the Beyond Burger
The Beyond Burger was launched by Beyond Meat in 2016.
In 2019, the recipe was reformulated and the Beyond Burger 2.0 was released to the market.
The company started in 2009 and brought several high-protein meat alternatives, including the Beast Burger, to the market.
Beyond Beat’s other products include Beyond Beef Crumbles and Beyond Chicken Strips. In 2018, Beyond Meat launched their Beyond Sausages, meat-free sausages that look and taste like the real thing.
Beyond Burger Ingredients
Beef patties have just one ingredient: beef. Since the Beyond Burger is entirely plant-based, it requires a few more ingredients to create a meat-like flavor. Fortunately, you can probably pronounce all of them.
Here is the full ingredients list of the Beyond Burger:
- Pea Protein Isolate
- Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil
- Refined Coconut Oil
Contains 2% or less of the following: Cellulose from Bamboo, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Dried Yeast, Gum Arabic, Citrus Extract (to protect quality), Ascorbic Acid (to maintain color), Beet Juice Extract (for color), Acetic Acid, Succinic Acid, Modified Food Starch, Annatto (for color)
In case you glossed over that chunk of text, let’s go over the main ingredients in the Beyond Burger.
Main Ingredients Broken Down:
The reason why the Beyond Burger is so high in protein is thanks to peas. Instead of using soy protein or wheat protein, the Beyond Burger uses non-GMO pea protein in order to remain soy- and gluten-free.
There are three oils in the Beyond Burger: canola oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil. The Beyond Burger has a juicy, moist texture thanks to these wisely chosen oils.
This is another ingredient that helps keep the Beyond Burger gluten-free. Potato starch is a healthier alternative to wheat-based thickening agents used to make the burgers thick and bulky. The Beyond Burger doesn’t fall apart like other veggie burgers partly due to the potato starch.
Everyone’s asking the same question about the Beyond Burger: “How does a plant-based burger bleed like real meat?” The answer is simple: beet juice. The Beyond Burger is naturally colored with small amounts of beet juice. You can’t taste it, but you can definitely see it. The inclusion of beet juice is simply for color.
The Beyond Burger contains two types of cellulose: cellulose from bamboo and methylcellulose. These ingredients are used as gelling and binding ingredients to make sure everything stays together on the grill. Both share the purpose of giving the Beyond Burger its firm, hearty texture.
Beyond Burger Nutrition and Dietary Concerns
Part of what makes the Beyond Burger so appealing is the nutrition facts. Take a look:
- Serving size: 4oz (113g)
- Calories: 270
- Total fat: 20g (31%)
- Saturated fat: 5g (25%)
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 380mg (16%)
- Carbohydrates: 5g (2%)
- Fiber: 3g (13%)
- Sugar: 0g
- Protein: 20g (32%)
- Iron: 30%
- Phosphorus: 25%
Beyond Burger Protein
The Beyond Burger is one of the highest-protein veggie burgers out there. It’s packed with pea protein, giving it 20g of protein per serving. This is about the same amount of protein, if not slightly more, as a regular beef burger.
Beyond Burger Allergens
The Beyond Burger is very allergen friendly. It’s free of the major allergens commonly found in vegan products: gluten and soy. There’s also no dairy, eggs, shellfish, tree nuts and corn.
It’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians as well. The Beyond Burger is also Kosher certified.
At this time, the Beyond Burger is not Halal certified.
What Makes Beyond Unique?
The Beyond Burger isn’t beef, but it’s not quite a veggie burger either. Frankly, the Beyond Burger belongs in its own category.
Like beef, the Beyond Burger is sold in the meat aisle of the grocery store. In order for a retailer to carry the Beyond Burger, they must agree to sell the plant-based burger right next to the beef patties.
However, Beyond Meat has beef with beef.
Beyond Burger vs. Beef
On their website, they taut all the ways the Beyond Burger is superior to beef:
- More protein
- More iron
- Less saturated fat and total fat
- No cholesterol
- Fewer calories
- No antibiotics, hormones, and GMOs
So, while the Beyond Burger looks like beef and has a strong meat-like flavor, it’s still made of plants. Does that make it a veggie burger?
Not quite. The Beyond Burger aims to satisfy your palette like beef but without the health risks, environmental toll and animal sacrifice as traditional meat.
Beyond Burger vs. Standard Veggie Burgers
If you’re searching for the most realistic veggie burger on the market, the Beyond Burger is superior to your typical black bean burgers for obvious reasons.
Taste aside, let’s compared the burger to a standard veggie patty in terms of nutrition. The Beyond Burger wins by a landslide in terms of protein. It’s also lower in carbohydrates, sugar and iron.
However, there are some places where the Beyond Burger falls back. It’s higher in calories, fat and sodium than your average vegetable patty. The Beyond Burger is also more processed than traditional veggie burgers and has been criticized for the amount of additives in the ingredients list.
When it comes down to nutrition, the results are mixed—you just have to pick your battles.
When it comes down to taste, the Beyond Burger is sure to win over any standard veggie burger.
Beyond Burger vs. Impossible Burger
“Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger” is the new “Coke or Pepsi.”
Both the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger launched in 2016, both were reformulated in 2019, and both are strikingly similar to beef in taste and texture. That’s not where the similarities end, though. Both burgers also have roughly 20g protein, are more environmentally friendly than meat, and rival beef in terms of nutrition.
Where the Beyond Burger dominates is that it’s more allergen friendly than the Impossible Burger, which contains soy. The Beyond Burger is also slightly more affordable and accessible.
The Impossible Burger, however, takes the advantage when it comes to taste. More people are blown away by the realistic beef-like flavor of the Impossible Burger than with the Beyond Burger.
Of course, taste is subjective, but you can’t ignore the shocking reviews of both burgers.
Beyond Burger Reviews
The Internet was buzzing when the Beyond Burger launched in 2016. Social media went haywire every time the Beyond Burger became available at a new restaurant or grocery store. Since 2016, people looking for meat-free options have loved and supported the Beyond Burger.
It’s not just vegans and vegetarians giving praise, though.
A writer at TheSpoon said the Beyond Burger 2.0 at Carl’s Jr. reminded her of a stereotypical fast-food burger, which is a win for anyone looking to satisfy your burger cravings with plant-based options.
Eater compiled a list of Beyond Burger reviews, all of which were overwhelmingly positive in regards to nutrition, cooking, taste and authenticity.
Despite the positivity, the Beyond Burger isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Hardcore meat lovers agree that the Beyond Burger is tasty, but it’s not going to beat out a beef burger in a side-by-side comparison.
Why Choose the Beyond Burger?
When it comes to choosing plant-based meat over real meat, there are three main reasons to opt for the former: Health, Environment and Animal Welfare.
While animal welfare is up for debate, the facts that the Beyond Burger is healthier for you and the planet are not. Let’s take a look.
Is it Healthy?
There’s no denying that the Beyond Burger is healthier than your typical 80/20 beef burger. After all, it contains no cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics. It’s also lower in fat and calories, yet higher in fiber and iron.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Beyond Burger is a processed meat alternative with a long list of ingredients.
While you should choose the Beyond Burger over a beef burger for health reasons, we wouldn’t recommend you choose it over unprocessed whole foods. Like a normal burger, the Beyond Burger is an indulgence.
The Beyond Burger isn’t trying to be labeled as a “health food”—it’s trying to be labeled as a healthier alternative to meat.
If you recycle, take shorter showers and drive a Hybrid, then congrats! You must care about the environment. If so, you’ll be bummed to find out that your favorite cheat meal—a big, juicy burger—is one of the least environmentally friendly purchases you could make.
One of the Beyond Burger’s main selling points is its leg up on sustainability.
According to the Beyond Meat website, the Beyond Burger uses significantly fewer resources than a beef burger:
- 99% less water
- 93% less land
- 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions
- 46% less energy
Sustainability plays a large role in why many people are looking to vegan protein sources instead of protein from animals. The Beyond Burger helps fill that demand.
Where to Find the Beyond Burger
If you’re curious about the meaty burger made from plants, you’re in luck. The Beyond Burger is one of the most accessible vegan products on the market.
Where is it sold?
The Beyond Burger is sold in a variety of restaurants and grocery stores. Some large chains include TGI Friday’s, Veggie Grill and BurgerFi.
As of January 2019, the Beyond Burger is now available nationwide at more than 1,000 Carl’s Jr. locations.
The Beyond Burger is also available at most grocery store chains, including Target, Albertsons, Kroger and Safeway.
See where the Beyond Burger is sold near you by using the Beyond Meat store locator.
Final Thoughts on the Beyond Burger
The demand for vegan products is steadily increasing, and the Beyond Burger was the first plant-based burger to shock the nation at how realistic veggie burgers have become.
Since Beyond Meat paved the way, several companies—Impossible Foods, Don Lee Farms, etc.—have launched eerily meat-like and “bleeding” vegan patties.
While some are more realistic than others, it was the Beyond Burger that started it all.
There’s no other veggie burger in the world that’s sold in the meat cases at grocery stores, which is a testament to how satisfying the Beyond Burger is.
Will you fall in love with the Beyond Burger? The only way to find out is to give it a try.