Cook's Illustrated

Tasting Meat-Free Burgers

There’s a seismic shift happening in the world of vegetarian, or plant-based, “meat.” Companies are targeting consumers who like meat but who, for any number of reasons, want to eat less of it. These products are intended to mimic the taste, texture, and experience of eating meat. This meat eater–friendly approach is working: Americans spent $801 million on plant-based meat last year, according to research from the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute. That’s an increase of 10 percent over the previous year.

The companies getting the most press are Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Each was inspired by an ambitious goal: combating climate change by lessening, or even completely stopping, human dependence on livestock. Both companies acknowledge that they can accomplish that sky-high goal only if their products are delicious and satisfying enough to win over meat eaters. They’ve had the most success so far with burgers, which Americans first got to taste in restaurants as varied

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