Customers of Madison’s three area Burger Kings might have noticed a new option appear on the franchisees’ menus this week.
The Impossible™ Whopper, a burger made with plant-based protein, is being tested in fifty-nine locations in and around St. Louis, with a national roll-out possible following this soft launch.
According to Impossible’s mission statement, they developed the plant-based meat substitute to replace the quote “destructive technology” of conventional animal agriculture. In providing the meat through Burger King, that mission may become a reality; however, those who may want the option to get Impossible Meat elsewhere, like Sara Coenen, may be out of luck.
“We went to DLUX and found the burger on the menu right away. It was all there, ‘Impossible Burger’,” and when we asked the waiter, they said it wasn’t available,” Coenen says. “We were shocked. We didn’t really understand because it’s on the menu and we maybe thought it was out, but they explained they were supposed to have this Impossible Burger, it was all set up. That’s why it’s on their menu, and then they pulled out because Burger King took over. Burger King stepped in and took Impossible™ meat away from everyone apparently.”
WORT reached out to DLUX’s general manager for comment, but had not heard back from the restaurant at time of publication.
In reviewing the Impossible™ Whopper, Coenen is conflicted, both in regards to taste and the accessibility of this product.
“It wasn’t that exciting,” Coenen laments. “It tasted like meat, but it was like seasoned-less meat; there wasn’t a ton of flavor. It was just, y’know, a Whopper with meat that wasn’t seasoned. I guess making it more available and more affordable to other people, and having that meatless option on the menu of a fast food restaurant could be a good thing in the long-run, but I don’t like it at the expense of no one else being able to have the Impossible™ burger. It’s frustrating.”
Dylan Bruce, a researcher at UW-Madison and organic farmer in Wisconsin, doesn’t see vegetarian-based patties necessarily replacing conventional meat altogether, and believes we must be cautious about how we create these products, even as they promise to mitigate agricultural impacts upon the land.
“I don’t know exactly what’s in the Impossible™ burgers or all of these substitutes, but there’s certainly a lot of soy,” says Bruce. “I think we can assume that if we transitioned much more of our meat consumption to these products, it’s not going to mean there’s no soy on the landscape. There’s going to be less of it, but we’re still relying a lot on this one crop. We don’t really know…if this is certified organic, so it still might be pretty insensitive on the landscape at a local scale.”
Although the Impossible™ Whopper, which does contain soy instead of wheat at the major source of protein, is billed as a vegetarian option, customers actually have to request a non-broiler method of preparation to get a completely meat-free option.
If you are a restaurant owner or manager who has had a similar experience in providing Impossible Meat, please feel welcome to contact us at email@example.com.