Vegan Burger vs. Traditional Beef Burger
The goal of challenge #26:
- Compare the vegan ‘Beyond Meat’ burger with a traditional beef burger
- Supporting Sustainable Development Goal 13; Climate Action – ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’
Its Burger Time!
Whats not to like about a challenge where you get to eat burgers!
Over the weeks I have been paying a lot more attention to my food habits, as I have come to learn that food production contributes to over 1/4 of all greenhouse gas emissions. This week we sampled the ‘Beyond Burger’ – vegan burgers that also do not contain soy or gluten – and compared them with a standard beef burger. From the outset I will say, I do eat meat and believe that it has been an important part of our diet since mankind set foot on the planet. My focus is on reducing my meat consumption and choosing locally, fairly produce options, as well as replace some of my previously ‘meaty’ meals with veggie alternatives.
My summary, I would encourage you to try the Beyond Burger, as I think you, like me, might be pleasantly surprised. I definitely found the burger to be really tasty, and would be inclined to eat them on occasions again. However, all things considered, particularly price and nutrition, I am more likely to look at other options like the humble bean burger. Read on to find out why…
First things first - The Sustainability Stats
The crew at Beyond Burger commissioned The Center For Sustainable Systems from University of Michigan to examine the sustainability factors of their product. This picture on the right shows the findings when comparing 1 quarter-pounder vegan burger with the equivalent of U.S. raised beef. You can watch their video by clicking on the image.
The Senses - How was the eating experience
All in all, and to my surprise I must say, I enjoyed the Beyond Burger more that the meat equivalent!
Whilst the vegan burger definitely didn’t look as juicy and appetising, both pre & post pan, I found the smell and taste better, even the textures were pretty similar. What I really liked was the grilled – al la Burger King – taste of the Beyond Meat option, however it has to be said both the taste and smell does come from additives and flavourings which obviously isn’t ideal.
Nutrients & Cost
On to the all important nutritional facts, for which I looked at a 2019 Harvard Health Publishing study titled: ‘Impossible and Beyond: How healthy are these meatless burgers? ’. The table below shows that in many respects the two are similar, apart from cholesterol (Chol) which has both good and bad properties and is higher in the meat burger, and sodium (salt content) which can relate to heart disease and bone health and is considerably higher in the Beyond Burger, but still well within the European Food Safety Authority’s daily allowance of 2000mg.
As I am no expert on nutrition I am going to simply echo the words of the article: ‘Even though legumes are sourced for protein in the branded meatless options, their health benefits are somewhat blunted by the high degree of processing involved’. What the study did shine some light on, is the good nutritional standing of the humble bean burger. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a study on the carbon emissions for this type of burger, (please share if you have them), but we can be pretty sure it is considerably less than a beef burger. Here is a recipe I have made a note of to try soon from Terri Edwards of EatPlant-based.com.
Both the Beyond Burger and fresh counter bought beef burger cost a pretty penny at €3 per burger. As we really rarely eat burgers, this price is ok for us to pay every now and then, but it also speaks for the likes of a bean alternative that is potentially a fair bit cheaper, particularly if home made.
My verdict: I absolutely applaud the team at Beyond Meat for creating more eco-friendly alternatives that are really tasty. If you are vegan, or looking specifically for vegan alternatives that still give a meat-like experience, I give these ‘plant-based patties’ a big 👍 and would definitely say they are worth a try. I like the taste and would be happy to eat them again, but based on the price and the fact that you are dealing with very processed food, Dennis and I said we are more likely to have good quality beef burgers occasionally and try a few more natural alternatives such as bean or quinoa burgers, or follow the suggestion of the Foodprints for Future campaign mentioned in challenge #20 like trying a half / half approach of meat and lentils/mushrooms.
Let me know about your vegan burger experiences and be sure to share any great recipes you have.
Thanks for reading
Your Better Me Greener