Beyond Burger finally arrived in the Netherlands last week. This product is probably the most hyped meat replacement ever, and I swear I’ve seen it mentioned hundreds of times (both in a positive and negative context). I bet if you are vegan you probably are pretty excited about it. But I think omnivores, especially those trying to reduce meat in their diet (like me) should be even more thrilled. Why? Because it actually is a good meat replacement*.
Ingredients and nutritional value
The burger is based on pea protein, which makes the least gross fake meat and protein powders in my opinion (heard that pea milk and yoghurt are nasty though, do we even have them in NL?). Each patty weights just above 100g and has 270 calories, 20g of protein, 22g of fat, 5g of carbohydrates. Overall it’s a very comparable nutritional value to a regular beef burger patty. Added bonus, the Beyond Burger has also some fibre. The ingredients list is not scary. It’s gluten-free, which is, unfortunately, an exception in the fake meat world (most products contain wheat protein).
Price and availability
In the Netherlands, you can buy it only at Albert Heijn – look at both meat and fake meat section. The biggest downside is the price – 6 euro for two. This is around twice as much as you would pay for the same amount of average beef in a supermarket. But given the innovativeness of the product and the fact that the market is growing, a drop in price can be expected eventually.
Preparation instructions are super easy: just fry for 3 minutes on each side. Nothing to add here, even a child could do it (not that I recommend letting your child around a fire and hot oil). The patty looks pretty realistic, although the perfectly round shape made me want to smash it a bit (successfully resisted the urge). I ate mine with caramelized onions, bbq sauce, baby spinach and tomato, and my partner with ketchup, mayonnaise, spinach, tomato and cheddar. To be honest, I don’t think that this product can be used for other dishes than burgers.
Overall impressions and the “but’s:”
Ah, the asterisk. So, let’s tackle the taste first. I’ve read some complaints from the vegan consumers that the Beyond Burger is even too meaty, with the creepy beetroot juice fake blood seeping out of it, and generally not pleasant if you are not used to eating meat. This made me pretty excited since I really enjoy classic beef burgers (on a very rare occasion, but still I remember the taste very well).
My overall experience is that it indeed tastes impressively like a burger… but fast food one. Very good fast food one, but still fast food. It’s not a gourmet burger from a small local restaurant, there is some standardized, food chain feel to it – even when served with more fancy condiments and bun. I’d give it a solid 8/10, ate with pleasure, would eat again. I also think that would confuse it with meat if I didn’t know what it’s made of.
Beyond burger could have been the best environmentally responsible, sustainable and tasty meat replacement. Yet it has a couple of serious downsides: the price, limited availability and the non-GMO label (which indicates that the producer is not using the most sustainable crops).
Overall, I would buy it again and would recommend it as a tasty and satisfying product for both omnivores and vegans.
Beyond Burger: 8/10
The good stuff:
- realistic meat taste
- nutritional value
- easy preparation
- gluten free
The bad stuff:
- price (3 euro per serving)
- limited availability
- non-GMO label
- fast food feel