Celebs take sides in battle of the vegan burgers

In the battle over meatless meat, there will be blood.

Investors have poured millions of dollars into creating vegan hamburgers that look, feel and taste like beef, and two clear front-runners have emerged: the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger.

Both are popping up at more and more restaurants around town, and health fanatics (both vegetarians and meat lovers) are buzzing about trying them.

The Bareburger chain just starting serving both, making for some heated dinner table discussion, according to Midtown Bareburger server Blair Conner.

“I don’t see any table-flipping yet, but I do hear people debating between Impossible and Beyond burgers, and they definitely have questions about the differences between them,” Conner says.

Here’s everything you need to know to pick your side in this juicy contest.

The burgers

Bareburger general manager Natalie Trzepizur displays the competing burgers.Stefano Giovannini

Impossible: Founded in 2011 by biochemistry professor Dr. Patrick Brown, who, with the help of big money from Silicon Valley, has developed a patty made of wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein and a mysterious ingredient called heme — a genetically modified yeast meant to impart a bloody look and feel. Bareburger serves it with vegan American cheese, carmelized onions, lettuce, ketchup and mustard on a sprout bun for $13.95. “[The Impossible burger] has the genuine taste of meat,” David Lee, Impossible Foods’ COO tells The Post. “No one else has that.”

Beyond: CEO Ethan Brown founded the LA-based Beyond Meat in 2009. Its patty is made from yeast extract, coconut oil and pea protein, plus beets to give it a bloody red color. Bareburger serves it with vegan American cheese, sweet pickles, red onion, lettuce and special sauce on a brioche bun for $12.95. Not having any genetically modified ingredients is a point of pride for Brown. “[They open] up a whole other set of approaches to building meat from plants and we’ve said to our scientists, ‘We really don’t want you to do that,’ ” he tells The Post.

The backers

Impossible: Bill Gates, Google Ventures and tech startup venture capital firm Khosla Ventures. Impossible Foods, the company behind the burger, had raised $400 million in funding, according to an SEC filing announced Tuesday.

Beyond: Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Gates and Tyson Foods, Inc. As of December 2017, Beyond Meat, the company behind the burger, had raised $72 million in investment, according to Crunchbase.

The basics

Impossible: Available at Momofuku Nishi and Ssam Bar, Umami Burger, Taco Dumbo, The Counter, 5 Napkin Burger, Bareburger, Wahlburgers and other restaurants, but no stores. They have zero cholesterol, 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of saturated fat, 430 milligrams of sodium (per 3 oz. patty).

Beyond: Available at Bareburger, TGI Fridays and Yankee Stadium, which began serving a Beyond Meat sausage this season. The burgers have zero cholesterol, 20 grams of protein, 5 grams of saturated fat, 380 milligrams of sodium (per 4 oz. patty).

Star power: Chrissy Teigen is a fan of the Impossible Burger, while Leonardo DiCaprio is an investor in Beyond Meat.
AP; PA Images/Sipa USA

The buzz

Impossible: Everyone’s favorite junk-food-loving model, Chrissy Teigen, called them “amazing” and “maybe more flavorful” than her preferred beef burgers on “Ellen” in February. The Post’s own Steve Cuozzo was less impressed when he tried them in 2016, writing, “The crumbly, thin patty … had a slightly gristly texture, meh mouthfeel and scarcely more bogus-beef quality than that of common veggie burgers made from grains and legumes.”

Beyond: In a statement, investor DiCaprio said that eating the burgers “is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate.” Cookbook author J. Kenji López-Alt is less enthusiastic. “Raw, the Beyond Burger smells like cat food,” he wrote in an article for “Thankfully, most of the more offensive aromas dissipate as it cooks, leaving behind only a faint meatiness, with the underlying pea protein peeking through.”

The bottom line

Impossible: The burgers best mimic the taste of beef, though the chewy, slightly grainy texture could be improved upon. TThe Food and Drug Administration says Impossible Foods has yet to prove heme is safe for humans. But FDA approval isn’t required to sell food, and Impossible Burger says it’s fine for consumption.

Beyond: The taste is less meaty, and there’s an unfortunate vegetal mouthfeel that lingers for hours. But it has less saturated fat and provides a good option for those who want to avoid GMO foods.

The Impossible Burger

Stefano Giovannini


The Beyond Burger

Stefano Giovannini


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