Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Impossible Burger isn't good enough. The Beyond Burger is better (also, Beyond Sausage)

So I liked the hype, but after five or six attempts, I'm just not sold on the Impossible Burger. Maybe I need to try it well done, but every patty I've had ends up a thin gooey red mess in the center. I'm guessing it might be okay as a crumbled addition to a entree, like in omelettes or tacos, but not as a burger.

I've blogged before about Beyond Burger as a vegetarian alternative, and I think it's better. No clue why it sits in the grocery stores while Impossible Burgers command a premium at restaurants. Well, one clue - my wife can't stand coconuts, and it has a mild coconut smell and taste..

Anyway, not a burger substitute but far better than any vegetarian dogs I've had is Beyond Sausage, now showing up in my Safeway store. No coconut smell or taste btw. It wasn't so great on an electric grill, but sliced and fried up on a stove, it easily matches regular sausage.

Convenience marches on. Contra David Roberts, I think to the extent environmentally aware people can easily do something more, we should do so.

16 comments:

Russell Seitz said...

When Otto von Bismarck supposedly remarked :
Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts.

he was trying to say

Die Wurstolitik ist keine exakte Wissenschaft.

EliRabett said...

Try microwaving the impossible for a minute or two before saute.

Brian Schmidt said...

Not bad advice, Eli, but I've only seen Impossible Burgers at restaurants so far. Maybe they should try it.

Gingerbaker said...

" I think to the extent environmentally aware people can easily do something more, we should do so."

Switching to veggie burgers is likely worse for the environment than eating real burgers. In the U.S., according to the EPA, beef produces about 1.8% of our CO2-eq GHG emissions. Non livestock agriculture produces about 5.0%. That would be where your veggie burgers come from.

That 1.8% figure is likely inflated,btw, and I could tell you why if you are interested. It also represents not just beef meat, but the entire dairy industry, leather, bone meal, part of pet foods, organic fertilizer and a lot more. It includes the GHG cost of transporting those animals to finishing yards and supermarkets, the costs of slaughtering, the GHG costs of the feed they consume. Less animals means more synthetic substitutes, and that would have a environmental emissions cost also.

And fauna and flora is part of the natural carbon cycle. Which handled things well until about 1850. Then we started burning fossil fuels. Thereby introducing billions of tons of carbon that was safely sequestered away underground back into the carbon cycle and overloading it. Extraneous carbon is the problem. Not meat.

So, not enjoying real burgers is doing nothing significant for the environment. The entire food sector is 9.0% of our GHG emissions. We must eat food.

The transportation sector is 27% of our emissions. We do need to use gasoline. You want to significantly help the environment as an individual? Buy or lease a car that runs on electrons. Even a plug-in can reduce your auto emissions by 95%.

Heating residential buildings is 15.3% of our emissions. Insulate your house, upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace or heat pump.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96198796@N05/47210689971/in/album-72157705569308771/

Gingerbaker said...

Sorry, should be "We do NOT need to use gasoline".

David B Benson said...

Gingerbaker might want to ban dihydrogen monoxide as well.

Russell Seitz said...

Get back to me when :

1. Impossible Burger-based Buddha Jumped OverThe Wall And Into The Frying Pan earns a Balti restaurant a Michellin Star

2. The Hierophant of Athens places an order for a hecatomb of Impossible Bull Femurs clad in Soylent Suet Of The Gods.

Gingerbaker said...

Yeah, my comment was all about banning stuff. You found me out.

Snape said...

Gingerbaker
You need to look at emissions per unit of food produced rather than total emissions.

In 2013, the US produced 354 million tonnes of corn. 11.7 million tonnes of beef.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_the_United_States

Last year, the US produced enough wheat to bake 180 billion one pound loaves of whole wheat bread, more food than the dairy, beef, pork and chicken industries combined.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/190358/total-us-wheat-production-from-2000/

Russell Seitz said...

Wonderful statistic, Snape- cue papers on sea ice loss from Arctic amplification of gluten forcing

Snape said...

I wouldn’t worry about sea ice, the arctic is projected to be gluten free by 2030.

Russell Seitz said...

Hence the business model for Chipotle Blue Corn Seal Taco franchises

Gingerbaker said...

"Gingerbaker
You need to look at emissions per unit of food produced rather than total emissions. "

That's not useful:

1) The livestock sector produces not just meat, but all dairy, most leather, bone meal, feathers - hundreds of products that would otherwise need synthesis and would generate emissions

2) Meat is more densely nutritious and brings a lot of nutrients not found in a billion loaves of bread

3) As far as beef and sheep - most of their bodies are comprised of carbon from grass, sun, and rainfall, ie, essentially emissions-free. 86% of what meat and dairy cows eat is not fit for human consumption. A large part of their "grain" and "feed" intake is chaff, and vegetable byproducts from human consumption.

4) Pigs also consume a lot of human food waste and byproducts.

5) Meat production is not taking any food out of anyone's mouth. Yet.

So, this is not a simple calculation at all. I could go further to show that beef emissions are likely over estimated as well, and easily lowered, but seriously, who cares? Meat and vegetables are food. We need food, we are not going to give up food. And in the U.S., 91% of our GHG emissions come from other sources, mostly fossil fuels. Which, of course, is what we would all be focused upon, if not for the shiny deliberate distraction of hamburgers.

David B Benson said...

Over one third of maize grown in the USA is used for animal feed.

Snape said...

GB
Your narrative sounds nice, (I’ve heard it before on WUWT), but it misrepresents the facts. In the US, the vast majority of crops are grown to support livestock.

“The proportions are even more striking in the United States, where just 27 percent of crop calories are consumed directly — wheat, say, or fruits and vegetables grown in California. By contrast, more than 67 percent of crops — particularly all the soy grown in the Midwest — goes to animal feed. And a portion of the rest goes to ethanol and other biofuels.

Some of that animal feed eventually becomes food, obviously — but it's a much, much more indirect process. It takes about 100 calories of grain to produce just 12 calories of chicken or 3 calories worth of beef, for instance.”

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2014/8/21/6053187/cropland-map-food-fuel-animal-feed

I could find a dozen references to back up those numbers, including a cool graphic created by NOAA (rotate the sphere to view the US). From the same link:
“the conversion of crops to meat is not particularly efficient (in the case of cattle, for example, about 30 pounds of feed are needed to grow a single pound of beef), so as global demand for meat rises, cropland devoted to growing animal feed will have to increase proportionately.”

https://sos.noaa.gov/datasets/agriculture-food-vs-feed/

Snape said...

Also worth noting: at six months age calves are separated from their mother. At about a year old they’re removed from pasture and put into a crowed pen. They will stand or lay there for the final 5 months of their life in order to get fattened up for slaughter. The industry tries to paint a rosy picture,
“Feedyards look different than cow-calf and backgrounding operations because cattle do not graze on pasture. Rather, they typically are separated into herds of 100 animals and live in pens that allow about 125 to 250 square feet of room per animal – plenty of room to move around, groom themselves, and socialize with other cattle.”

https://www.beefboard.org/pocket-guide/beef-lifecycle.html