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The Beyond Meat Review: Everything You Need to Know About Everything Beyond Meat!

If you pay any attention to the world of meat alternatives, then you've probably heard of Beyond Meat (and likely its biggest competitor, Impossible Foods). But if you've never tried their vegan meat products, then you've come to the right place. Because in this Beyond meat review, we're going to look at what you can expect from all their products, from the ever popular Beyond Burger to less famous offerings like Beyond Chicken and Beyond Sausage. So what are you waiting for? Let's go!

Who Is Beyond Meat?

Founded by CEO Ethan Brown in 2009, Beyond Meat was created with a mission of decreasing the harmful impacts of meat-based agriculture by offering vegan alternatives to real meat. In so doing, the company's founder believes Beyond Meat can help mitigate many of the problems associated with animal agriculture, including climate change and animal welfare issues. 

In fact, according to the company's website, a life cycle analysis conducted by the University of Michigan comparing the Beyond Burger to a quarter pound beef burger found that the meatless burger required 99% less water, 93% less land, and 46% less energy to produce and led to 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, Beyond Meat was named company of the year by the nonprofit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2013, the same year its products debuted on store shelves.

Unlike many of its competitors, Beyond Meat also refuses to use gluten or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in any of its products, and it sources most of its ingredients from organic sources.

Now that you've got an idea of the company behind the products, it's time for the reviews!

Beyond Meat: A Tale of 5 Products

Beyond Chicken

Beyond Chicken was the first product released by Beyond Meat. Sold initially through Whole Foods beginning in 2013, Beyond Chicken strips were available at grocery stores and fast-food restaurants in the United States—that is, until 2019, when the company quietly pulled them from store shelves due to lack of sales.

Though Beyond Chicken had a small but devoted following, others found the vegan chicken alternative by turns not very chicken-like and too eerily similar to chicken, prompting some to compare it to a robot simulation of chicken.

However, the company has stated that it's working on a reboot, and it even staged a test run of the new formula in August 2019 at fast-food restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), where the faux nuggets sold out in less than 5 hours.

Beyond Beef

Developed in 2014, Beyond Beef became the second vegan meat product rolled out by Beyond Meat. Like its predecessor, Beyond Chicken, Beyond Beef has both fans and detractors (including some who can't get past the smell, which is described as everything from "processed" to "litter box").

However, if you look closely at the reviews, you'll see that the people who love Beyond Beef are, by and large, meat eaters, while the people who find it, well, gross, are either vegetarian or vegan.

And this makes sense. 

After all, if you don't eat meat, then you probably don't want to eat a product that simulates meat.

That being said, if you're looking for plant-based ground beef, Beyond Beef hits all the right notes. First of all, it may come as a plastic-wrapped slab, but it's easily torn apart and molded into patties—or placed in a skillet and browned for tacos, meatballs, you name it.

And the addition of coconut oil to the formula means that cooking Beyond Beef brings with it the familiar sound of beef sizzling in the pan. Plus, the use of both beet juice and apple extract gives you a product that may start out pink but turns brown as it's cooked, just like real beef.

As for the taste, again, if you're already a meat eater, the taste and texture may blow your mind. However, if you don't eat meat, and haven't for a long time, Beyond Beef may creep you out.

In addition, like other plant-based meat alternatives, Beyond Beef is a highly processed food—though its ingredients are at least easily identifiable. Check them out.

Water Pea protein isolate
Expeller-pressed canola oil Refined coconut oil
Rice protein Natural flavors
Cocoa butter Mung bean protein
Methylcellulose Potato starch
Apple extract Salt
Potassium chloride Vinegar
Lemon juice concentrate  Sunflower lecithin
Pomegranate fruit powder Beet juice extract

And when it comes to the nutrition facts, Beyond Beef contains the following.

250 calories 390 milligrams of sodium
18 grams of fat  20 grams of protein
6 grams of saturated fat 3 grams of carbs
0 grams of cholesterol  8% of the RDA of calcium
2 grams of fiber 25% of the RDA of iron

The Beast Burger

After Beyond Beef, but before the Beyond Burger, there was ... the Beast Burger. The first vegan burger patty offered by Beyond Meat, the Beast Burger was made available to the public in 2015.

Interestingly, unlike both Beyond Beef and the Beyond Burger, the Beast Burger appealed more to vegetarians and vegans than true meat eaters. But considering that Beyond Meat is attempting to lure more lovers of red meat away from animal-based products, it isn't surprising that the Beast Burger was eventually revamped as the Beyond Burger.

You can also tell how things changed by taking a gander at the Beast Burger ingredient list:

Water Sorbitol
Pea protein isolate Natural flavoring 
Essential fatty acid oil blend (DHA algal oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, palm oil) Beyond nutrient blend (vegetable nutrient extract blend—spinach, broccoli, carrot, tomato, beet, shiitake mushroom, sea buckthorn juice powder, beet juice powder, hydrilla powder, horsetail herb powder, moringa leaf powder, mesquite powder, fulvic minerals, pomegranate seed powder)
Methylcellulose Spices
Carrageenan Salt
Calcium sulfate L-cysteine hydrochloride
Yeast extract Onion powder
Maltodextrin Sugar
Potassium bicarbonate Onion extract
Potassium chloride Paprika extract
Tapioca starch Garlic extract
Caramel color  

Yikes, that's a lot of ingredients!

The Beyond Burger

Since supplanting the Beast Burger in 2016, the Beyond Burger has become the most famous meat substitute in the Beyond Meat lineup. In fact, you might say it's taken the fake meat world by storm. 

Like Beyond Beef, the Beyond Burger includes apple extract to recreate the pinkness of real beef and the browning that occurs once cooked. 

And, in addition to coconut oil, the latest iteration of the Beyond Burger includes cocoa butter, which adds a savory flavor more reminiscent of real burgers. 

And the texture? Like Beyond Beef, the Beyond Burger is a real eye-opener to meat lovers but tends to put off hard-core vegetarians and vegans.

When it comes to ingredients, what you'll find in the Beyond Burger is definitely a step up from its predecessor the Beast Burger, but this veggie burger is still a highly processed food, as you can see:

Water Salt
Pea protein isolate Sunflower oil
Expeller-pressed canola oil Vegetable glycerin
Coconut oil Dried yeast
Cocoa butter Gum arabic
Apple extract Citrus extract
Bamboo cellulose Ascorbic acid
Methylcellulose  Beet juice extract
Potato starch Acetic acid
Natural flavor Succinic acid
Maltodextrin Modified food starch
Yeast extract Annatto

Interestingly, while the Beyond Burger contains different ingredients, it shares the same nutritional profile as its cousin, Beyond Beef.

Beyond Sausage

Released in 2017, Beyond Sausage is definitely the baby in the Beyond Meat family of products. Available in two varieties—bratwurst and spicy Italian—Beyond Sausage, like other Beyond Meat products, has both fans and detractors.

However, unlike Beyond Beef and the Beyond Burger—but definitely reminiscent of Beyond Chicken—this latest in the Beyond Meat line appears to appeal more to non-meat eaters, who overwhelming find it a near perfect substitute for real meat.

Although the sausages sizzle and char like other Beyond Meat offerings, meat lovers find the texture less meaty and more mealy and the flavor somewhat lacking in spice. What's more, the casing, which is made of calcium alginate, doesn't offer the same "pop" meat eaters enjoy with regular sausage.

However, meat lovers tend to find that, when it comes to plant-based alternatives, Beyond Sausage is definitely a cut above—and in this vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters all appear to agree. 

The ingredients you'll find in Beyond Sausage are:

Water Pea protein isolate
Refined coconut oil  Sunflower oil
Natural flavor Rice protein
Fava bean protein  Potato starch
Salt Fruit juice
Vegetable juice Methylcellulose
Apple fiber Citrus extract
Calcium alginate  

As far as nutrition facts, what you'll find with Beyond Sausage is a bit different than both Beyond Beef and the Beyond Burger: 

  • 190 calories
  • 12 grams of fat
  • 5 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 500 milligrams of sodium
  • 16 grams of protein
  • 5 grams of carbs
  • 6% of the RDA of calcium
  • 22% of the RDA of iron

Beyond ... Bacon?

Rumor has it that Beyond Meat is currently working on a vegan alternative to bacon as well. However, though the company has admitted it is indeed developing a plant-based alternative to regular bacon, it doesn't currently have a launch date.

But whether you're a meat lover, vegetarian, or vegan, Beyond Meat probably offers at least one product you can sink your teeth into. However, it's important to remember that this is not health food.

As any cursory glance at the ingredient lists can tell you, Beyond Meat puts out some highly processed products, so we wouldn't advise eating them 3 times a day every day—but then we wouldn't advise doing the same thing with beef either.

However, unlike real meat, Beyond Meat products contain less saturated fat and zero cholesterol—plus comparable levels of protein—so they can provide you with a potentially healthier alternative when you're craving meat. 

Plus, when you sit down to your plant-based meal, you can take comfort knowing you're doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—and you might even have saved a four-legged life too.

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