Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mmmmm...(Meatless) Burger

An 'Impossible Whopper' sits on a table at a Burger King restaurant in Richmond Heights, Missouri. Burger King announced on Monday that it is testing out Impossible Whoppers, made with plant-based patties from Impossible Foods, in 59 locations in and around St. Louis area.
Michael Thomas/Getty Images
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Burger King will offer the Impossible Whopper in each of its 7,200 American restaurants by the end of 2019.

The catch? The burger is made with no meat.

The Impossible Burger, a mock-meat product made by Impossible Foods Inc., is already thriving — so much so that a restaurant in New York City tried to replace it with a competing substitute-meat product, and reported some customers turned around and left when they heard about the switch.

Burger King’s rollout follows White Castle, which sells another version of the Impossible Burger.

These burgers are part of a movement to reduce or replace the red meat in diets.

From NPR:

Here’s the environmental argument: Agriculture is responsible for up to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and much of the emissions come from red meat production. A lot of land and water are needed to grow the grains to feed the livestock. (About one-third of all the grain produced globally is used as animal feed.)

And, as the World Resources Institute estimates, producing beef uses 20 times the land and emits 20 times the emissions as producing beans, per gram of protein.

Here’s part of a review by Tim Carman, a food reporter for The Washington Post:

The Impossible Slider is a stark reminder that, no matter how savory the plant-based patty may be, it’s still not beef.

After eating more than a dozen Impossible-branded burgers in St. Louis — including Red Robin’s thick-cut version, which had none of the chin-dribbling juices you desire from a big, sloppy grilled hamburger — I’ve come to the conclusion that the producer of this meat alternative is a master illusionist. After one bite, you swear the Impossible patty tastes just like beef. After a second bite, you begin to sense the illusion behind the science. After a third, you’re ready to invest in the whole enterprise. With time, the illusion becomes its own alternative reality: The product is close enough to beef that your brain is willing to fill in the rest of the flavors, even if somewhere in the dark recesses of your cerebral cortex, you know it’s all a lie.

But Carman also says the Impossible Whopper is better than the real thing.

Could we adjust to a meatless version of the quintessential American sandwich?

Produced by Avery J.C. Kleinman.


Danielle Beck, Senior director of government affairs, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; @BeltwayBeef

Tim Carman, Food writer, The Washington Post; @timcarman

Frank Mitloehner, Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis; @GHGGuru

Pat Brown, Founder & CEO, Impossible Foods; @ImpossibleFoods

For more, visit

© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.