What’s the Difference Between Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat?

updated Aug 3, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

You’ve heard the buzz: There’s a new kind of beef on the block, and it’s not made from cows. Increasingly available in restaurants and grocery stores nationwide, vegan ground beef is gaining steam.

Over the past few years, two competitors with vastly different approaches to making plants taste like meat have emerged at the top: Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat. Both are ground beef substitutes that aim to replace animal agriculture, and have a positive environmental impact. Both are cholesterol-free and high-protein, with good beefy flavor and texture. But there are some differences — possibly significant ones.

What Is Beyond Meat?

Beyond Meat is made from a combination of peas, mung beans, fava beans, sunflower seeds, and brown rice. It is gluten-free and also soy-free. This is a big deal for the soy-averse, as a number of meat substitutes (including Impossible) are soy-based. But perhaps an even bigger deal is that Beyond Meat is certified non-GMO, where Impossible Meat is not (more on that, below).

As for the taste and texture, Beyond relies on beet juice to mimic beef’s color and “blood.” Most people find that they’re able to tell the difference between it and beef if they’re paying attention, but it certainly tastes similar, and is quite convincing.

Beyond Meat is available in many restaurants, and many large grocery stores, where you can purchase packs of ground “beef” or pre-shaped burgers. Beyond also sells a variety of other products, including sausage and pre-flavored “crumbles.” To find them near you, check their locator tool.

What Is Impossible Meat?

One of the hallmark ingredients of Impossible’s product — the “heme” that makes their burgers taste more meaty — is something that was developed in a lab from genetically modified yeast. That means Impossible Meat is a genetically modified food, in case that’s something that matters to you. Also, though Impossible is made entirely from plant products, they have admitted in the past to testing their products on animals.

From a flavor standpoint, Impossible “heme,” similar to a chemical compound found in real beef, is a major breakthrough. Though it’s not completely indistinguishable from beef, Impossible Meat has that iron-rich, so-called “bloody” taste.

Impossible Meat is increasingly available at restaurants across the country, but it’s not widely available in grocery stores. You can also purchase Impossible meat frozen online, though it can get pricey. Impossible is also starting to sell a ground pork and sausage alternative. To find them near you, check their locator tool

Your turn: Have you tried either Beyond Meat or Impossible Meat, or both? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments below!