Prepared for Jessica | Delivered January 21, 2020
Case Studies: Plant-Based Burgers
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To provide best practices that describe the best ways to manufacture plant-based burgers based on the practices implemented by Impossible Foods and Beyond Burger.
Impossible Foods uses soybeans that have been
as the base for their meatless burgers. This ingredient provides protein while also
the chew and texture of real meat.
water, potato protein mixed with other nutrients (the nutrients provide nutrients and flavor while the potato protein acts as a binder that gels up while cooking and helps retain moisture in the patty),
from plants (in the cooking process this reacts with the nutrients in the potato protein mixture and helps create the taste of meat), sunflower oil (for fat and fiber and to act as a binder)
During the production process, all the ingredients go into a
giant food mixer
/grinder and comes out looking just like ground beef.
The rest of the production process works
just like any other
meat/burger factory which essentially forms the meat into patties or brick shapes and then freezes and packages it.
part of Impossible's burger production process is the creation of the 'hem' (
). This is
and uses a process that incorporates a fermentation process. The yeast created in the fermentation process creates the hem. Impossible Foods has a whole
lab dedicated to perfecting
this process, as the company has found that the quality of the hem is affected by numerous variables, including the
specific strain of yeast used in the process.
According to Beyond Meat's CEO, Ethan Brown, the company thinks about meat in terms of its
: amino acids, lipids, trace minerals, vitamins, and water. The company then assembles these elements "in the
of animal protein."
Ethan Brown feels the company is
% there in terms of being able to create a product that 100% mimics real meat. He notes that the company is now focusing more on
and feels their most recent interation of the product much more closely mimics the flavor of animal protein, as well as the aroma.
Because animal protein consists of over
different molecules, Brown says that essentially what the company does is
isolate the molecules
, identify their characteristics, and then find matching molecules from plants. He states that this process of discovery gets the company
to an animal protein equivalent.
Results of Findings
We were unable to locate articles written by experts which layout industry best practices for plant-based burger manufacturing. This is likely because this is a very niche industry.
However, we were able to locate insights which describe the specific production processes of major players (Impossible Foods and Beyond Burger), which make it clear what the company's top priorities are in terms of how they develop and produce their product.