You know you should eat less red meat. Despite its ability to refresh you, a diet based on steak and burgers increases your chances of getting heart disease, cancer and diabetes ̵
The problem? Red meat is just so damn tasty.
California startup Impossible Foods wants to offer you a win-win situation: a meatless burger that tastes good and actually bleeds like beef; has as much protein and less fat than its cattle brothers; and is grown in a lab, so it uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and produces 87% less greenhouse gas emissions than the traditional species.
This lab-grown pate, the Impossible Burger, appears on the right time when environmental issues matter and the sustainability of food to the forefront of cultural conversation. As such, it has created a unique cross-section of curious onlookers, from traditional food websites and magazines that feature the burger's ability to mimic beef in virtually every aspect, to high-profile technology and business outlets that chart the company's technical advances take note and green initiatives. And with the announcement of the even livelier, more iconic and iconic Impossible Burger 2.0 at the Consumer Electronic Show 2019 (CES) in January, it seems that this beefless revolution is just beginning.
In 2009, Stanford biochemist Pat Brown, MD, conducted an 18-month sabbatical to reflect on a rather difficult topic: how he might influence climate issues. It was not long before he concentrated on livestock. "Cows live for a long time, they eat a lot of food and produce a lot of methane," says Rebekah Moses, chief executive of impact strategy at Impossible Foods. Even conservative estimates suggest that beef production accounts for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land use than vegetable proteins.
When Brown founded Impossible Foods in 2011, he realized that the environmental impact of a plant burger would have to be at least as good as beef. His team found a secret: "Other products use synthetic flavoring to mimic the taste of meat, but we looked at the chemical reaction that occurs when the protein and sugar come to heat and instead are synthetically made," says Laura Kliman, PhD Scientist at Impossible Foods.
It turns out that a single molecule, called a heme, is responsible for just about everything, from the typical iron taste of a burger to the caramelized tan against a hot grill. The IF team has worked through more than 100 prototypes before a synthetic heme has been perfected from the nearby plant-related soyabeinoglobin of the molecule. It was followed by countless recipes, until the team embarked on the meat-like mixture of textured wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, vitamins and a binder of xanthan gum and konjac gum.
The Impossible Burger debuted  In 2015, the team's long journey to pin down the perfect recipe paid off. Within a year, the burger was added to David Chang's famous Momofuku Nishi in New York. Within three years, there were more than 5,000 restaurants in the US and Asia, including major sports bars and well-known chains such as Red Robin, Cheesecake Factory and White Castle.
At the CES – a show that is usually dedicated to the discovery of the latest technological innovations – the company announced its first recipe revision, the only took six months Kliman says: The goal was simple: an even meatier burger, so more meat lovers convert and do a damned good job!
After cooking, the new Impossible Burger 2.0 looks just like friable ground beef. It smells of hot fat and seethes so moderately in medium rarity that carnivores remain in their orbits. It contains less sodium, saturated fat and total fat than the flagship, but the biggest change has been in trade with the original wheat protein for soy. Before taking this path, let's be clear: "Soy is a dense source of amino acids that builds muscle as well as meat," says sports nutritionist Ryan D. Andrews, RD, author of A Guide to Plant-Based Eating. In fact, Harvard researchers report that people who achieve a high daily protein count build the same strength and muscle mass regardless of what percentage of their daily macros are from animals compared to plants. Given the Impossible Burger watches at 27 grams of protein per four ounces (19 grams for the new formula) – which equates to a serving of 80/20 ground beef – your training results will not stand.
[RELATED1]  And no, you will not let any male boobs grow. "Most men, especially in the US, would be perfectly able to eat more soy, even one serving a day would not affect the reproductive hormones and would probably actually benefit your health," says Andrews. Switching to soybeans offered a wide variety of solutions, including making the burger gluten-free. "Soy protein has also changed the texture of the burger and has a much more neutral taste. Therefore, we could make the 2.0 much sharper in the taste and have more of this coarse grind of a high-quality beef burger, "says Kliman. Her team also changed the binder in potato protein, which gives off water during cooking and brings out that unmistakable juiciness of a burger.
If the idea of "meat" has grown in a lab instead of a farm, come up with the idea: Compared to the amount of manipulation that occurs in the great majority of American animal feeding operations, it really is no more unnatural than that "natural" beef we eat, emphasizes Andrews.
"Impossible Foods" has set itself the goal of eliminating animals food production by 2035, and Brown recently announced they would come next. Meanwhile 2.0 will be rolled out to all over 5,000 restaurants nationwide if you read this. Plus, this delicious meat substitute will be available in grocery stores for the first time this year, so you can experiment with it in any beef recipe, from meatballs to tacos to dumplings.
Provisionally available to consumers "And it offers an even tastier product," says Moses. If Joe Smith can go to his local White Castle in Ohio and order an Impossible Slider instead of beef, the environmental benefits will add up over time.
All images courtesy of Impossible Foods