As the population of the world increases, the demands, specifically for meat are increasing at an unsustainable rate. Contributing greatly to global warming while consuming massive amounts of space are among a list of problems have led many fast food chains to seek new, sustainable meat alternatives. We take a look at how meat is changing in the world of fast food.
First off, we have seen two major names pop up in the fast food plant-based meat alternative space- Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.
Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat is plant-based meat substitute producer located in Los Angeles, U.S. Their products are formulated to re-create the texture and tastes of chicken and beef.
Similarly, founded in 2011, Impossible Foods is a plant-based meat substitute producer located in California, U.S. Impossible Foods launched their first meat analogue product, the Impossible Burger in 2016. Compared to traditional methods, the production of Impossible meats uses 74% less water, 95% less land and produces 87% less greenhouse gases. The Impossible contains more sodium and more saturated fats than an unseasoned beef patty but does pack more protein, less total fat and no cholesterol.
Impossible meat has been tested and served at Burger King, White Castle as well as Starbucks. We have seen Beyond Meat at the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and possibly at KFC to not long from now either.
Pizza Hut has also teamed up with Beyond Meat to trial their Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza in the U.S. Those who have tried the Beyond Meat Italian Sausage pizza alternative have said that it is more than good enough to replace real sausage. Although the texture of the Beyond Meat sausage is a touch drier, it passed the taste-test from many.
Last year, we saw Burger King unveil the “Impossible Burger”, which is a plant-protein based version of the Whopper burger. It not only looked the same, but tasted the same. The unique ingredient in the Impossible Whopper patty is called soy leghemoglobin along with other ingredients that give the meat-like texture and quality. The burger received a positive response despite skepticism and is being refined to address larger market possibilities.
Now, one of the biggest names in the fast food industry, McDonald’s has joined the plant-based meat alternatives party. McDonald’s has recently announced their plans on testing out their attempt at the sustainable meats market with the “McPlant” burger. The president of McDonald’s, Ian Borden said, “we have created a delicious burger that will be the first menu option in a plant-based platform.” after successful tests among international markets. Successful reception of the idea can would encourage spreading out to more options like plant-based chicken and breakfast sandwiches as well.
Can plant-protein based meat alternatives be accepted and adopted for day-to day demands of an ever-growing population? Only time will tell, but one thing we know for sure, the future of food is going on a wild, technology-fueled ride.