Going Beyond Meat: How One Company’s Meatless Meat Appeals to Carnivores

Staff Writer
Beyond Meat has been going strong since 2009, selling convincing meatless chicken and beef products made from plant protein

Ethan Brown

How do you get a vegetarian burger to taste like the real thing? With science, of course.

The nutrition science team behind Beyond Meat prides themselves on creating convincing chicken and burgers made from plant protein. Their Beast Burgers, made from 23 grams of pea protein, just premiered at retail outlets this past spring. Just don’t call them veggie burgers. Ethan Brown, the CEO of Beyond Meat, says that the process is very different than that used to create most veggie burgers, and a lot more involved than simply getting soy to behave like beef.

“We are studying the architecture of meat,” Brown tells The Daily Meal. “We love meat and we want people to continue eating meat, just from non-animal sources.”

Beyond Meat sources its protein from mustard seed, cotton seed, and yeast, all of which have a high-protein and amino acid yield. The Beast Burger is made using French yellow peas. First, their scientists isolate the protein, fiber, and fat from the pea plant. Then they run the protein through a heating-cooling process, and organize it to be layered like real muscle fiber. This makes the texture similar to meat. To take the taste of peas or yeast out of the meat, Beyond Meat’s researchers use the same methods used to strip the plant of any impurities to whittle it down to its very basic protein elements. The entire process produces no waste, and does not require any chemicals.

Beyond Meat sells a number of meatless meats, including chicken made with soy, yeast, and pea protein, and beef made with pea protein. You can get the chicken varieties in regular grilled, Southwest style, seasoned, Buffalo, sesame ginger, and chicken tenders. The beef meanwhile, comes ground, spicy ground, and two variety of meatballs. The Beast Burger, a whole different animal is also available in slider form.

“Throughout history, it’s been a fixed assumption that you have to get protein and meat from animals,” says Brown. “But now you don’t have to.”

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