Reaching for the “holy grail” of plant-based protein and facing an ongoing complaint about this category, Beyond Meat has reformulated its flagship burgers to improve their taste and nutritional information.
The new versions of the Beyond Burger, which will replace the existing recipe, are slated to hit markets in grocery stores and restaurants early next year. The upgrade promises less fat, fewer calories, and extra vitamins and minerals.
The company says the move is another step towards the ultimate goal of creating burgers that are healthier than typical beef patties and taste just as good.
To showcase the products and increase the excitement (and the press), there will be a three-day fan sampling event at the startup’s Los Angeles headquarters later this week.
The move comes at the end of an explosive year for plant-based foods, especially faux meats, as flexible consumers saw record growth and plan to continue buying the products in the future, according to a study by Archer Daniels Midland, grumbling about the makeup of the processed products.
Impossible Foods, one of Beyond’s fiercest competitors, has already undergone a high-profile renovation of its flagship burger and announced the Impossible Burger 2.0 at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show.
Execs at Beyond, who also redesigned their burgers in 2019, said in a statement that they are “continuously working to understand the taste of beef on a deeper level.” The ongoing search meant that the brand “developed an understanding of taste and aroma tonalities that were missing in previous versions of the Beyond Burger, as well as tonalities that were present in the Beyond Burger that we wanted to reduce to 80 to bring / 20 minced meat, “a spokesman told Adweek. (80/20 is the lean to fat ratio of a typical hamburger).
The new Beyond Burgers will be the company’s “juiciest” burgers, with “improved meat flavor, less total fat, and fewer calories plus B vitamins and minerals”, comparable to the micronutrients found in real beef.
For a data breakdown, the Beyond 35 has 35% less total fat and 35% less saturated fat (5 grams) than a typical burger. The Beyond 55 meanwhile has 35% less total fat but 55% less saturated fat than beef. This makes it the branded version of a low-fat product weighing 3 grams.
Food analysts called the news a logical next step in the fight against animal protein, despite the Good Food Institute’s Zak Weston pointing out that plant-based meats on the market are already lower in saturated fat than real beef. “So that just makes the nutritional benefit more obvious than before. “
Beyond the founder, Ethan Brown has often spoken publicly about tinkering with the product components to best mimic real meat.
“What’s the perfect burger? I think this case is really about further closing the gaps in sensory experience between our burgers and 80/20 ground beef, ”he recently told Yahoo Finance. “Then it really is just indistinguishable. That is the holy grail. “
Consumers report wanting to eat less red meat and often trade it for plant-based products, citing health and environmental concerns. But they are taste connoisseurs and rate this as their main motivator when choosing which fake meat to buy.
Weston, GFI’s food service and supply chain manager, believes that marketing will continue to focus on taste and that companies in this space will address another issue for consumers: price. “It remains one of the few major barriers to consumer testing and adoption,” he said, noting that prices could fall in 2021.
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