Impossible Vegan Meat Goes Beyond Typical Fast-Food


Manan Mendiratta

Burger King’s Impossible Whopper is a vegetarian spin on the regular Whopper, retaining the same familiar tomatoes, onions, pickles and lettuce while substituting the beef patty with an Impossible Meat vegan one.

Manan Mendiratta and Akshay Raj

The fast-food market has recently embraced a new wave of vegan and vegetarian alternatives to meat with open arms. Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are pioneers of this trend, producing and distributing plant-based meat substitutes. Several fast-food chains hoping to reach a new market are integrating these soy-, gluten- and GMO-free alternatives into their existing menu items. Here’s how they stack up against their original counterparts.

Burger King:
Burger King has recently been showcasing its new Impossible Whopper, a replica of its normal Whopper with a vegan patty in place of the typical beef. At first glance, the two burgers appear identical, but upon closer inspection, the vegan patty appeared much drier than the meat counterpart. However, it was nearly impossible to differentiate the taste of the two burgers, aside from the grainy texture of the Impossible patty. The original Whopper patty stood out more than the Impossible burger, but this minute difference did not diminish the overall taste. This burger excels at providing a new take on the Whopper without sacrificing the core ingredients or taste – 8/10.

Del Taco:
Del Taco recently added a variety of Beyond Meat options to its menu, including two new tacos and two burritos. The Beyond 8 Layer Burrito we tried was impressive but slightly missed the mark as a meat substitute. Visually, nothing gave away that the burrito was vegetarian. While the burrito was flavorful, we felt that the “meat” was being masked by other ingredients, making it hard to tell what we were eating. We tasted a lot of strong guacamole, beans and lettuce and had to dig deeper to get to the actual Beyond Meat. When compared to a typical burrito, where the meat is the most distinguishable feature, Del Taco’s offering was more comparable to a bean burrito— 6/10.

Carl’s Jr.:
Carl’s Jr. now offers a refresh of their Famous Star burger with the plant-based Beyond Patty. It looks slightly different on the outside, due to the thicker, redder and more uniform patty, but it still definitely has the visual traits of a beef patty. Immediately, we realized that the patty did not stand out compared to the rest of the sandwich; when trying the regular Famous Star beside it, the first thing we tasted was the meat, whereas the Beyond burger highlighted the taste of pickles, tomatoes and other ingredients more than the patty itself. It could serve as a fresh, less heavy alternative to beef, but it still does not properly convey a beefy flavor— 7/10.