Beyond Meat was explicitly designed to win over meat lovers, creating vegan dishes that satisfy a wide range of appetites.
It’s part of a new generation of plant-based foods meant to satisfy the appetites of all types of consumers. So has the company succeeded?
Does Beyond Meat taste like meat?
Beyond Meat makes a wide range of plant-based protein products, but most taste tests have focused on the Beyond Burger, their most visible product.
The Beyond Burger has a flavor, appearance, and texture similar to meat.
Most people find Beyond Burgers tasty, but burger lovers directly comparing them to beef burgers find them less satisfying than real meat.
Let’s get into the details.
What Is Really in Beyond Meat?
Beyond Meat products have several ingredients, and each plays a role in the nutrition and experience of the food.
While every product has specific elements, Beyond Meat contains:
- Pea protein
- Rice protein
Together, peas and rice form a “complete” protein with all 9 essential amino acids humans require in the diet.
Binders and Emulsifiers
- Potato starch
- Sunflower lecithin
These binders help Beyond Meat products maintain their shape
Fats and Oils
- Expeller-pressed canola oil
- Refined coconut oil
- Cocoa butter
These fats and oils provide the “marbled” appearance of Beyond Meat and create juiciness in the prepared foods
Beet Juice Color
Beet juice color gives Beyond Meat a pinkish color that resembles beef.
Unlike beef, these products have a pink interior even when they are overcooked, so the internal color is not an indicator of done-ness
Individual Beyond Meat products have different seasonings and flavor compounds
Because peas are legumes, people with allergies or sensitivities may want to be cautious.
Does Beyond Meat Really Taste Like Meat?
Even more important than the flavor, Beyond Meat also has the texture and juiciness of meat.
People who want to enjoy a satisfying burger want a certain mouthfeel and sensation when they bite into the food, and Beyond Meat delivers that experience.
How Does Beyond Meat Taste Like Beef?
Beyond Meat tastes like beef because it has plant-based ingredients that are high in umami, the taste of savory foods.
Brown rice, yeast, and other ingredients are high in these “meaty” notes that taste like beef.
Does Beyond Meat Have an Aftertaste?
Most people do not experience an aftertaste from Beyond Meat.
However, some people notice a mild flavor of coconut after eating a Beyond Meat burger because coconut oil is one of the main ingredients and may leave trace flavors in the mouth.
A few people describe a strong unpleasant aftertaste that begins an hour or more after eating Beyond Meat, but most people do not.
This appears to be an individual response rather than a general characteristic of Beyond Meat products.
Is Beyond Meat Good Tasting?
Most people find Beyond Meat products good tasting.
The company works hard to make a delicious product, and their research shows that 8 out of 10 people find it delicious.
The Beyond Burger is tasty but not as satisfying for some meat lovers who crave burgers.
The differences between a Beyond Burger and a beef burger are distracting and slightly disappointing for these people.
Unfortunately, very few plant-based products may overcome that kind of detailed, point-by-point comparison where they are expected to fully replicate every property of beef.
Most vegans and vegetarians find them an extremely satisfying way to replicate their favorite foods and recipes using plant-based ingredients.
Beyond Meat is healthier and more environmentally responsible than beef and comes very close to replicating beef’s taste, texture, and appearance.
Most people who try a Beyond Burger find it very tasty and enjoyable and are surprised at how meaty the product is.
While some people feel that Beyond Burgers aren’t quite as satisfying as beef, they are still delicious, meaty, and enjoyable.