Meatless burger 2.0 debuts at CES

Grilled Impossible Burger 2.0 meatballs are served with tomato sauce at CES 2019. Photo by Aaron Ye/ BU News Service.

The plant-based Impossible Burger 2.0 premiered at CES as the first food ever featured at the conference, according to the company. And Impossible Foods CEO and founder Pat Brown thinks this burger fits right into the mega tech conference.

“In absolutely every important way, food is completely a technology,” Brown said at the launch in the Border Grill at Mandalay Bay on Monday, Jan. 7. “Good technology is supposed to solve problems, and this problem isn’t going to be solved by telling people to change their diets.”

The problem Impossible Foods is trying to solve isn’t just saving cows from being eaten. The company is looking to get animals out of the food system entirely in an effort to create a more environmentally friendly and sustainable food chain. And they want it to taste good too.

Unlike some burger alternatives, the Impossible Burger is trying to come as close as it can to beef in nutrition, taste, juiciness and texture. The burger replicates these features and even looks as though it’s bleeding when grilled.

From left to right, Pat Brown, CEO and Founder, David Lipman, CSO, Mary Sue Milliken, co-chef and owner and Rachel Konard, chief communications officer of Impossible Foods present the Impossible Burger 2.0 to press on Jan. 7, 2019. (Aaron Ye/ BU News Service)

“I think a lot of customers really care about the environment, they care about their bodies,” said Border Grill co-chef and owner Mary Sue Miliken. “They really want to make a difference but they don’t have very many ways to do so, and they feel pretty powerless.”

To empower her customers, Miliken works to incorporate sustainable and often plant-based options into her menus. Miliken said she serves Impossible Burgers to give customers the option of doing something good for the environment and good for their bodies.

As Brown and Miliken touted the improvements the Impossible Burger 2.0 has — it’s gluten free, has no animal hormones or antibiotics — attendees had the chance to test the burger for themselves.

Chef stations scattered around the restaurant’s outdoor patio prepped classic dishes. “Steak” tartare, meatballs and mini tacos were all on the menu — but the order was hold the meat. Chefs showed off the grilling capabilities of these meatless burgers around crowded grills.

Two Impossible Burger 2.0 patties are put on the grill at the Border Grill during CES 2019. (Aaron Ye/ BU News Service)

The general population can only try these burgers at 5,000 different restaurants for now. Brown said the Impossible Burger will be released in grocery stores later this year. Although the price will probably be higher than ground beef, Brown sees it being priced at an affordable range once the company starts full-time production within the next couple of years.

As for creating other meat alternatives, Brown said it’s part of the long-term plan. With the release of the 2.0 burger (the first version came out two years ago) the team at Impossible Foods say they’re already working on 3.0.

“The cow stopped trying to improve a million years ago. It’s not talking to its customers.” Brown, sporting a shirt with a crossed out cow, said. “It never really was trying that hard to be good at meat.”

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