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Fast Food News Restaurants

LA’s Fatburger Will Become The First Public Chain To Sell The Impossible Burger

Los Angeles-based burger franchise Fatburger has a lot happening for it this week. Not only is it in the process of going public, but its also adding the increasingly popular Impossible Burger, a plant-based patty that bleeds and tastes just like the real thing, to its menu.

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Photo courtesy of Fatburger

Starting today, five Los Angeles locations will begin serving up Impossible Foods’ signature patty. Made with heme, a protein sourced from plants that gives the burger its juiciness and flavor, the Impossible patty is a flavorsome and comparable vegan counterpart to regular burger patties. Those who order the patty at Fatburger locations will get the option to fully customize with the chain’s regular arsenal of toppings.

This news follows up the announcement that the L.A.-based chain is going public. An initial public offering of $24 million has begun, as the parent corporate branch of the burger business, FAT Brands Inc., is selling 2 million shares at $12 apiece until October 13th. FAT Brands has applied to list in the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker FAT, where it will officially list beginning October 23rd. Fatburger aims to build another 300 locations after the IPO closes on October 20th.

Photo courtesy of Fatburger.

Currently, no publicly traded restaurant or food chain sells or offers the Impossible Burger, making Fatburger the first public chain to sell the juicy vegan patty. CEO Andy Wiederhorn told Foodbeast that with the “growing demand for plant-based options” out there, incorporating the Impossible Burger seemed like a great fit, “especially because it cooks, looks, and tastes very similar to” a burger. Wiederhorn himself “honestly couldn’t believe it wasn’t beef” when he first tried the burger.

At this point, however, it’s going to be difficult for Fatburger to expand further with its Impossible Burger sales. Wiederhorn cited the economic cost of the vegan patty as one factor. “Ground beef costs around $3-$4 per lb; the Impossible Burger costs much more than that, which means it has to have a much higher price point than traditional burgers and isn’t affordable to all consumers yet,” he told Foodbeast. Additionally, Impossible Foods itself is still in progress of expanding its production capability, having just opened its first large-scale factory a few months ago.

As Fatburger and Impossible Foods both continue to expand, though, the burger could expand to more locations. Fatburger will discuss putting the Impossible Burger in more locations if the initial Los Angeles offering proves to be a success.

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Grocery News Science Technology

How The US Government Is Preventing The Impossible Burger From Entering Grocery Stores

Photo: Isai Rocha/Foodbeast

Ever since the plant-based bleeding Impossible Burger began appearing in restaurants, one of the biggest questions consumers have had for the creator, Impossible Foods, is when the patties will begin appearing in stores. We now have a little clarity into that answer, as the U.S. government has managed to put a temporary halt on Impossible Foods’ progress towards that goal.

As part of the process to ensure that their juicy vegan patties can be sold in grocers around the nation, Impossible Foods has been trying to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve their key ingredient, leghemoglobin (or “heme,” as the company calls it), as a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) substance. They’ve already submitted a full GRAS notification report and petition that shows extensive safety tests the company has conducted to ensure that the leghemoglobin, which comes from the roots of soybean plants and is cultured by yeast to manufacture at a high level, is safe for human consumption.

The FDA, however, was not convinced by Impossible Foods’ research. A memo obtained by the New York Times revealed that potential allergen concerns and the notion that leghemoglobin hasn’t been consumed by humans before up to this point prevented the FDA from approving Impossible Foods’ initial petition. The company can still sell its burgers in restaurants, however, because there was insufficient evidence to prove that their key ingredient isn’t safe to eat.

Impossible Foods does plan to resubmit their petition, which gives the FDA several options. If Impossible Foods does have enough new research that shows their leghemoglobin does not induce allergic reactions, they may grant the ingredient GRAS status and open the gateway for Impossible’s burgers to start appearing in grocery stores. The FDA could also go the way they did with miraculin back in the 1970s. This sugar-free, protein-based sweetener was controversially classified as a food additive, meaning that more extensive and expensive toxicological research would need to be conducted before leghemoglobin would be allowed to be used in a food product for stores. While companies that made miraculin didn’t have the funds to conduct that research in the 1970s, Impossible might be able to conduct that research and get their “heme” approved for sale in grocery stores.

If that doesn’t happen, the Impossible Burger will likely be relegated to the upscale restaurants that it is currently served at and hopefully make its way across the entire country through that method at some point. Hopefully, leghemoglobin eventually does get approved by the FDA though, and we’ll be able to purchase and experiment with this bleeding vegan burger meat for ourselves.

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Health News What's New

Umami’s New Veggie Burger Actually Looks And Tastes Like Real Meat

Photo by Isai Rocha/Foodbeast

Umami Burger’s latest burger will fake you out, as it looks and tastes just like beef, but is actually 100 percent plant based.

Umami announced that it has partnered with Impossible Foods to make its own version of the Impossible Burger, and will be selling it at nine of its locations, starting May 18.

The burger consists of two Impossible burger patties, caramelized onions, two slices of American cheese, miso-mustard, dill pickles, lettuce, tomato, and Umami’s house spread in between their Portuguese-style bun.

You might hear the term “veggie burger” and immediately wonder why vegetarians would want to eat something that looks like meat, but this burger is actually made to attract meat eaters, not vegetarians, according to Impossible Foods’ CEO Patrick Brown.

“Every time a vegetarian buys it, it’s a waste of a burger,” Brown said. “Very commonly, vegans and vegetarians have a hard time eating it because it’s so… it’s like meat to them.”

Impossible’s mission isn’t meant to convert meat-eaters to veganism, it’s to provide a beef alternative, because they believe if we continue using cows at this high rate, we’re going to cause “irreparable damage” to the environment.

“People love the foods we get from cows,” Brown said. “They love their burgers and love their meat. We have to find a solution to that problem, to produce all those foods without any compromise in deliciousness and nutrition.”

The patty itself is seasoned with their Umami dust, like they do with all their burgers, and according to Umami’s chief operating officer Gregg Frazer, the patties actually caramelize on the outside when cooking, just as a regular beef patty would.

The Impossible Burger has made waves over the last year, as David Chang added it to his Momofuku Nishi restaurant in New York, showcasing the patty’s somewhat-shocking ability to be cooked to “medium-rare” and actually have red tint within. It eventually made its way to Los Angeles’ Crossroads Kitchen, as Angelenos got their first taste of the faux-beef burger.

The burger had previously been featured in 10 U.S. restaurants, but this Umami collaboration marks the burger’s biggest expansion, being carried at nine of Umami’s 20 locations, meaning you can now find the Impossible Burger at 19 restaurants nationwide.

The Impossible burger is a gourmet burger, and doesn’t come cheap, as Umami will be selling it for $16 each. If you really want to get your hands on one, though, be sure to call in and make sure they haven’t sold out, because each restaurant will only sell 50 Impossible Burgers per day.

The nine SoCal locations carrying it will be Santa Monica, Broadway in Downtown L.A., Arts District, Hollywood, Los Feliz, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Pasadena, and Thousand Oaks.

Trying the burger myself, I think it can really fool you. It’s actually really good. Not just good for vegetarian food, it’s legitimately good. You’re getting the Umami Burger flare, without compromise in flavor.

If this is the future of the burger industry, at least it tastes delicious.

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#foodbeast Feel Good FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss News Restaurants Technology What's New

We Thought This Vegan Burger Was Actually Beef

I’m absolutely obsessed with seeing what’s going on with the future of food. Whether it be new food technologies or products, when something incredibly amazing related to food comes out, I want to experience it firsthand.

So, when Impossible Foods announced that it’s BLEEDING, PLANT-BASED “Impossible Burger” was going to be sold at Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance to go see it being made and taste it.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Impossible Burger, its been going viral for the past year. The burger patty was developed by Impossible Foods – a food tech, Silicon Valley firm that aimed to create a plant-based patty that replicated meat perfectly.

This included the absolute juiciness, browning when cooked, and the flavor of meat – all of which many other companies failed to do with their own vegan burgers.

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After countless hours of research, CEO Dr. Patrick Brown and his team found the ingredients they needed, including heme (a protein responsible for most of the flavor and the juiciness of the patty), potato starch, wheat, and coconut oil.

Impossible Foods wanted to make this patty not as just another vegan burger, but as a real replacement for ground beef. In the near future, the water, greenhouse gas emissions, and land costs of beef and other meats will likely make them unsustainable to produce, and we could potentially not be able to eat them since nobody could raise livestock anymore. This burger is meant to be the alternative we eat in that future.

After revealing their Impossible Burger patty and getting rave reviews (including a massive acquisition offer from Google), they started getting picked up by various high-profile restaurants. David Chang of Momofuku Nishi launched his viral version of the burger over summer. Last month, it was announced that three California restaurants would also sell their own versions of the burger – Cockscomb and Jardiniere in San Francisco, and Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles.

With plant-based aficionado Tal Ronnen at the helm, Crossroads has become one of the most popular plant-based restaurants in Los Angeles. He and executive chef Scot Jones teamed up to create an Impossible Burger that is aimed to be reminiscent of “SoCal fast food” (basically, In N Out).

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To do this, they griddle the burger and serve it on a toasted In-N-Out-style bun with a coconut-based version of American cheese (from Follow Your Heart), lettuce, tomato, white onion, and a ketchup-vegenaise-pickle sauce similar to the special sauce from In-N-Out. The whole thing comes with truffle French fries dusted with vegan Parmesan cheese (also from Follow Your Heart).

With the goal of trying this burger in mind, I got Foodbeasts Jazz and Grant to join my trek to Crossroads to check this burger out.

When we tried the burger, we were completely amazed:

Grant: “It’s the perfect cheeseburger for a lactose-intolerant Foodbeast.”

Jazz: “I’m taking my vegan friends this weekend to show them what they’re missing in the burger world.”

Me: “Wow. Just wow. That tastes exactly like a burger.”

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The texture was exactly like that of a fast food burger patty, and the flavor was spot-on to that of In-N-Out, from sauce to bun. Even the cheese was melted just like on a regular fast food burger (although it was admittedly a bit strong in flavor).

While the experience of initially eating the burger was nearly perfect to that of a regular burger, what really had me amazed was the aftertaste. My mouth felt like I had just eaten a burger – and yet I knew I wasn’t going to get that greasy feeling that you normally get when you’re done eating a burger.

Chef Tal explained that the legume-based heme was responsible for the aftertaste sensation I was getting, and what made the experience so real. From that whole experience, I could definitely see this burger replacing beef in a future where cattle are unsustainable to grow anymore.

Grant, Jazz, and myself were, for lack of a better word, mind-blown as we left Crossroads after tasting their Impossible Burger. On the drive back, we all had the same thought in mind: We gotta go back soon.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Google Is Trying To Make This Impossibly Bloody Vegan Burger Happen

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The Impossible Burger made waves in 2014, as the thought of a medium rare, bloody vegan burger seemed preposterous, but it looks like it’s getting closer to becoming a reality.

According to the Daily Mail, Google recently tried buying this beefy-looking burger for a cool $300 million and got turned down by the creators at Impossible Foods. Apparently, the vegan burger company thought $300 million dollars was a spit-in-their-face offer and wanted more for their revolutionary burger.

This isn’t their first encounter with Google, as the tech company, along with Bill Gates, helped fund the impossible burger to the tune of $75 million. Google must have really been impressed with it, as they now want the full rights to the burger.

The burger does look pretty impossible, as they’ve worked to get a texture similar to that of a beef patty, and as you can see, they’ve incorporated vegetable blood to provide a reddish tint that resembles a burger cooked to medium rare. They even claim that it tastes like a real beef burger.

We’re inching closer to vegans being able to eat vegan food that doesn’t look or taste vegan.

Categories
Health

Bloody, Medium Rare Veggie Burgers Now Exist

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A wise man once told me, “All vegans try to do is make their shitty food look like it’s regular food.” Those words of wisdom hold true in this specific instance, as “Impossible Foods” has created a veggie burger that closely resembles a beef burger.

The startup company calls it the “Impossible Cheeseburger,” and one of the keys to its realistic look is the incorporation of vegetable blood. Well, it’s called heme, a molecule that comes from the roots of certain plants and produces a deep red coloring.

The heme allows the vegan-based burger to have a medium rare look which was one of the last steps in their ultimate goal of creating a veggie burger that both looks and tastes like a beef burger.

Impossible Foods has received funding from both Bill Gates and Google to the tune of $75 million.

Eat up, vegetarians. Taste the delicious, bloody fruits of their labor.

H/T Grubstreet, PicThx Impossible Foods