By Chef Vincent Tropepe
While the Impossible Burger has become increasingly available at both fast food restaurants and similar meat replacement products in high end eateries for Burger King, the Impossible Whopper may have built up hype, but failed to elevate the chain’s same-store-sale growth as high as Wall Street expected.
Analysts anticipated the burger chain to deliver same-store-sale growth up of a 3.1% increase, but Burger King missed this expectation with sales in United State restaurants that were open 13 months or more only climbing .6%. The brand is contributing this under performance because they say they were offering fewer value bargains. When Burger King concluded that sales platitude for the Impossible Whopper they placed it on the 2 for $6 bargain menu and lowered it’s a la carte price.
Burger King’s largest United States Franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group said that in the start of 2020 Impossible Whopper sales dropped nearly 13% which means that about only 28 to 30 Impossible Whoppers were being ordered per day whereas the original Whopper orders stayed steady with at least 230 per day.
The Beyond Burger and Impossible Foods remain the two controllers in the meatless meat market. It was back in 2016 when the original Impossible burger first appeared in restaurants and Beyond Burgers was gaining traction in supermarkets, but while the Burger King Impossible Whopper was suffering the Beyond Burger was having an impressive year.
Impossible Foods, the privately held meat replacement challenger to the publicly traded Beyond Meat said in March of 2020, it raised roughly another $500 million in its latest round of funding. The new investment brings the company’s total funding to $1.3 billion. According to the company the funding will be used to boost its manufacturing; expanding its distribution in supermarkets and othe retailers domestically and internationally; and speed up the commercialization of its newest product, Impossible Sausage and Impossible Pork.
From when I first heard that Burger King was releasing the Impossible Whopper many questions went through my mind. The first was, “What would the nutritional facts look like on an Impossible Whopper?”so lets take a look.
According to the Impossible Foods website a 4 ounce patty, not including any of the toppings, bun or sauce looks like this. Calories: 240 Fat: 14 grams Saturated Fat: 8 grams Sodium: 370 mg Carbohydrates: 9 grams Fiber: 3 grams and Protein: 19 grams. The nutritional facts of the Impossible Whopper are much different. These nutritional facts include the bun, toppings and sauce. Calories: 630 Fat: 34 grams Saturated Fat: 11 grams Sodium: 1,080 mg Carbohydrates: 58 grams Fiber: 4 grams and Protein: 25 grams.
As for whether or not the Impossible Whopper is actually “healthy”. That depends on what you are comparing it to. If the comparison is being done among other Burger King burgers or other parts of their menu mix, then yes it’s a far healthier option although it’s saturated fat content is not very impressive. There is an abundance of research that shows the negative correlation between saturated fats and heart disease.
The plant based elements give the burger a health halo, but it still does not qualify as a healthy food. The amount of saturated fat is high due to its coconut ingredient that also offers the product moisture.
If you compare the burger to a four-ounce patty of lean sirloin, the Impossible Whopper is not healthy at all. The actual ingredients list on the Impossible Whopper is so long, it can’t even be known within the industry as a ‘clean’ label.
A main ingredient of the Impossible Whopper is soy protein concentrate, which is highly processed and highly refined from soybeans. Like any other highly processed foods soy protein concentrate is high in sodium as reflected in the nutritional facts and is something to be cautious of for those suffering from high blood pressure.
It seems this burger would best be suited for someone who does not eat red meat and wants to try some alternative. Probably to a long practicing vegan, the Impossible Whoppper tastes great – as for me reviewing it, I can appreciate and recognize Burger King for the meatless option, but from both an aroma and texture standpoint the only thing that I find impossible is how those “random” taste testers on their commercials can’t smell or taste to clear difference. Today more then ever before, there are many alternatives to red meat in more healthier and natural ways. Having brought more then 150 products to market I will offer the Impossible Food Corporation some valuable and free advice. Instead of focusing your time and $1.3 billion on trying to imitate beef be an innovator and create a burger alternative out of red beets, mushrooms, or eggplant.
Additionally, its important to note that if you are a vegan, you would want to order the Impossible Whopper mayonnaise and cheese free. The Impossible Whopper is clearly something that should be ordered from a taste standpoint for those who may actually enjoy it over a regular Whopper and not from a nutritional standpoint. The ingredient swap does not point to a reason nutritionally to choose to eat it. Should you elect to eat it, it should be treated as a mindful indulgence just like any other fast food choice.