By 2050 the world’s population is going to be around nine billion people. There is nowhere near enough meat to compensate for that huge number. One company is trying to revolutionize the world of plant-based meat. Chefs can agree that creating the most balanced and beautifully made burger is a goal they all strive for. Whether it’s using chicken, beef, beans or tofu, creating the perfect patty is all about flavor. Deep in the heart of Silicon Valley a little startup called Impossible Foods is starting to gain some serious steam. Backed by $250 million dollars in investment money from Singapore-based venture fund Temasek, Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, and others, Impossible Foods is creating something that we haven’t seen before. The veggie burger market is about to change forever.
The Impossible Foods group has found what they believe to be the essence of what makes meat taste and smell the way it does. Heme is a compound that gives meat its color and metallic taste. Heme is found in the protein called hemoglobin. Impossible Foods has found a way to use hemoglobin from soy plants as a substitute. To begin, beef is heated up to release its aromas. The machine isolates the aroma compounds and gives a fingerprint of how to recreate the smell. A lot of research goes into creating a meat alternative that rivals beef itself. Impossible Foods has proven they can do just that.
With the $250 million dollars raised, Impossible Foods is looking to expand its facility to allow for higher production rates. They are looking to supply over 1000 restaurants with their groundbreaking veggie meat over the next few years. Impossible Foods has made it known that they want to keep the meat in restaurants with professional chefs. The special veggie meat can be found all around the United States. Locally there are 8 restaurants here in Portland that serve the veggie meat that bleeds including Superbite, Jackrabbit and Imperial.
Impossible Foods has created a meat alternative that even the hungriest of meat eaters will eat. I think that what makes a burger so good is its meaty and salty flavor. I’ve tried the bean, tofu and various meat alternatives and been left unsatisfied. The thought of being able to have that salty and meaty flavor and still be conscious of animals is one that intrigues me. As this product becomes more main stream I think there will be a huge decrease in meat consumption. Many people like myself want to be conscious but also want the beef. If this product lives up to its hype, I can assure you that I will be switching to the Impossible Burger meat.
By Jonathon Byers, OCI Culinary Arts Graduate