Today, we rely on cows to turn plants into meat. California-based Impossible Foods have developed what they call a better system for producing "meat". From raw to ready, the Impossible Burger has the look, feel, smell, (even the sizzling sound), and most importantly, the taste of a great burger - but it is made entirely from plants. Its creators think that this is the future of food, and is a much more sustainable one than the water-thirsty, resource-draining world of farming animals for meat. The burger is targetted at carnivores rather than at vegetarians, to attempt to prove to them that plant-alternatives can offer a similar experience to meat.
“We spent three and a half years understanding what makes the experience of cooking and eating meat so unique, and discovering proteins and nutrients from plants that recreate the experience on a molecular level,” says Impossible Food.
The biggest discovery Impossible Foods made was that a molecule called heme, which they call the “magic ingredient” that gives meat its craveable flavor and smell. Although it’s exceptionally abundant in meat, heme is essential to every branch of life, including plants. A heme-containing protein naturally found in plants gives their faux meat its believable meaty flavour.
After discovering heme, the research team – led by former Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown – spent a serious amount of time developing a burger that could compete with a real carcas-eating experience. Surprisingly, their burger recipe includes coconut oil (to replicate the oozing fat) and honeydew melon and is healthier and lower in calories than a beef burger.