Yesterday was National Cheeseburger Day! May 28, 2019. aka National Hamburger Day, and the lesser-known National Brisket Day. It’s also considered International Burger Day.
This seems the perfect time to weigh the differences between plant-based and meat-based burgers. There are considerably more people opting for plant based burgers these days. Plant-based meat is watching its popularity soar, reaching the stratosphere with Beyond Meat IPO on May 2. Then, on May 14, Burger King announced that it was expanding sales of its Whopper made with Impossible Foods patties from St. Louis to three other U.S. markets.
As you contemplate whether the meat you put on your grill comes from a cow or a plant, consider who may or may not stand to gain from your choice.
The ultimate part of anyone’s diet is what it means for your, well, diet. Whether you’ll be eating more calories – and stuff that’s not good for you – when consuming cow versus plant comes down to some simple numbers.
Calorie-wise, they’re almost identical. A 4-ounce Beyond Burger is 270 calories, compared to 240 calories for a same-size Impossible Burger and 287 calories for an 80% lean traditional burger.
The Beyond Burger has 3 grams of fiber, 20 grams of fat and 380 milligrams of sodium. Compare that to the Impossible Burger’s 3 grams of fiber, 14 grams of fat and 370 milligrams of sodium. A beef burger’s deets are 0 grams of fiber, 22.6 grams of fat and 75 milligrams of sodium.
A bigger issue is what you use to dress your burger: cheese or lettuce? A giant buttered bun or a pickle slice? A ton of mayo or a small dot of mustard? That’s where racking up grams of fat sneaks in.
When it comes to money, plant-based meat means less green. Traditional meat is significantly cheaper.
A package of two quarter-pound Beyond Burger patties is $7.09 on jet.com, compared to $4.49 for a 1.3-pound package of fresh 80% lean ground beef.
Impossible Foods, which doesn’t sell its products in stores at this time, declined to say what its prices are but pointed out that restaurants that use its plant-based meat charge around a dollar more.
There are some exceptions in the cow camp, though. Burgers made from specialty beef, like waygu, are pricier than the normal patties you’d pick up at your local supermarket as are halal and kosher beef.
It’s as subjective as you can get at this point. For example, which taste do you like better?
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’ll embrace the plant-based products, as you recall the horror of Non-Meat Patties 1.0.
If you’re a carnivore, you may have a harder time giving up the real stuff for the plant version striving to emulate it. For the latter group, there may be some one-and-done runs to sample the new protein contender; some may choose to put plant-based options in their dinner-plate rotation.
For people who are constantly gunning for social-media attention, the hipness of plant-based burger will probably get you more “likes,” especially if it’s a description of your first taste or accompanied by a designed-to-make-you-salivate photo.