If everyone still eating regular burgers switched to Beyond and/or Impossible burgers, we could turn climate change around! Utopia in the making. Screw saturated fat.
Even so, I feel compelled to mention that both options are pretty terrible for you. High in fat, and hardly a whole food in the entire ingredients list. However, vegan junk food is light years less harmful than non-vegan junk food.
So first, let's compare labels.
The first thing I notice is that the Impossible Burger counts 3 servings per 12 oz package.
The Beyond Burger counts 2 servings per 8 oz package. Either way, we are getting the nutritional info for a single 4-ounce patty.
Calories: BEYOND: 290 - IMPOSSIBLE: 240
Fat: BEYOND: 22 grams - IMPOSSIBLE: 14 grams
Saturated Fat: BEYOND: 5 grams - IMPOSSIBLE: 8 grams
*Beyond has a lower fat option that has 18 grams of fat instead of 22, but the saturated fat, the part that counts, is not any less. Still 5 grams. Back to the drawing board, guys.
So far Impossible has 50 fewer calories and 8 grams less fat. However it has 3 more grams saturated fat than Beyond, and that's the important part.
Sodium: BEYOND: 450 or 19% of our daily max - IMPOSSIBLE: 370 or 16% of daily max.
Protein: BEYOND: 20 grams - IMPOSSIBLE: 19 grams
The main ingredient in IMPOSSIBLE is pea protein
The main ingredient in BEYOND is soy protein
The oils used in IMPOSSIBLE are coconut oil and soy oil
The oils used in BEYOND are "expeller pressed" canola and coconut oil
Both are gluten-free.
Beyond is also soy-free. Impossible contains soy.
PACKAGING and PRICING
IMPOSSIBLE: 8 oz package for $5.49 or $11.98 per pound
BEYOND: 8 oz package for $4.99 or $9.98 per pound.
The packages I purchased came from Wegman's in Binghamton NY, and they were both made of plastic, which can be rinsed and recycled with films and plastic grocery bags. However, they are single-use plastic which should be illegal. So the companies need to step up and come up with something better.
CONSISTENCY and RAW TEXTURE
The Beyond Burger is a little bit stickier and browner. I mixed it in a bowl with some BBQ seasoning, and it left a greasy coating on my hands and the sides of the bowl.
The Impossible Burger is redder and not as sticky. Not as greasy on my hands when I mixed it with the BBQ spices. Did not leave a grease coat on the bowl.
The Impossible has a lighter texture to it. It just feels healthier.
Both burgers cooked up beautifully in my frying pan. I was able to get a nice dark browning on the outsides of them both. I cooked them in a skillet, uncovered, for about 4 minutes on each side in a tablespoon of canola oil. Then we covered them in sautéed portabella mushrooms and ate them. Honestly both burgers were delicious either on buns with lettuce, tomato and ketchup, or straight up just smothered in mushrooms with a little BBQ sauce.
FLAVOR AND COOKED TEXTURE
While they were very similar, both my husband and I found the flavor of the Impossible Burger a bit more to our liking than the Beyond burger. We also found the texture a bit better. It's a finer grind sort of feeling, while the Beyond is a little bit coarser.
The Impossible brand seems more like real ground beef, if that matters to you. We do not eat this stuff wanting it to fool us into thinking it' meat because meat is gross. (In case you didn't get the memo.) However, for new vegans just making the transition, something more meat-like might actually be appealing. You know, for a little while. But only until you assimilate.
Sidebar: A true vegan once told me that "Doritos are the meatiest chips." Baffled, I mentioned it to another vegan, who nodded hard and said, "Yeah, they really are." So meatiness, not a plus. Got it.
THE WINNER IS...
For Flavor: Impossible
For Texture: Impossible
For Calories: Imposible is lower
For Fat: Impossible is lower
For Sodium: Impossible is lower
For Overall Fat content: Impossible is lower
For Soy content: Beyond is far lower at 0
For Saturated Fat: Beyond is lower by 3 grams
For me: The clear winner is The Impossible Burger
For anyone avoiding soy: Beyond is the clear choice
Neither of these are truly plant-based foods in the spirit of what I mean by the term. They're not natural. And they are the farthest thing from whole-foods. They are high in fat and sodium. I wouldn't advise eating them more than once a week, and that would be one 4-ounce serving.
There are far healthier plant-based burger options out there. But to be honest, they just aren't as tasty.
The healthiest vegans are those eating mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. All the other stuff, vegan meat, vegan milk, vegan cheese, vegan butter (and all oils) - are not whole-foods and are not good for us. They're just less bad for us than the original kinds of meat, milk, cheese, and butter. WAY less bad!
"Not good for me, just less bad for me," is a good phrase to keep in mind when shopping for vegan groceries.
FOR THE PLANET
I'll end as I began. If everyone still eating regular burgers switched to Beyond and/or Impossible burgers, we could turn climate change around! So let's do that today.
Healthy or not, these foods are a planet-saving, species preserving, extinction-event-avoiding part of a healthier diet.