Beyond Meat is getting more equal opportunity in the animal proteins it mimics. The popular maker of faux burgers and chicken strips that allegedly fool even Alton Brown is releasing its first pork knockoff today — a sausage line that purportedly “delivers on the juicy, satisfying taste and texture” of the real thing, but is totally meat-free and therefore healthier.
It’ll of course be up to consumers to try out the three varieties — Original Bratwurst, Hot Italian, and Sweet Italian — and see if they hold up to Beyond’s claims about inventing a product that “looks, sizzles, and satisfies like pork.” But arguing their relative health benefits should be a much easier fight: The company says these links have 14 percent more protein than “a leading” brand of pork sausage, plus almost half the fat, 27 percent fewer calories, and a quarter less sodium. They’re also free of hormones, sodium nitrites that the WHO says cause cancer, gluten, soy, and GMOs.
People love sausage, but Beyond Meat points out that a major downside is that once you “know what’s inside,” you “no longer want to eat it.” Theirs supposedly alleviates that problem, carrying no chance of human DNA, sundry bone fragments, “clumps of hair,” or other stomach-churning ingredients that routinely creep into regular sausages. Beyond’s ingredients sound fairly simple: Protein is derived from peas, fava beans, and rice. There’s coconut and sunflower oil, then a smattering of binders and colorants (potato starch, beet juice, apple fiber, a compound known as methylcellulose). The casings use alginate, a stabilizer that comes from algae.
The products hit shelves today, but only at a single Colorado Whole Foods — the one in the consumer sweet spot of Boulder, where Beyond Meat’s packaged burgers first debuted in May of 2016, and sold out in an hour. Don’t expect the sausages to be sequestered there for long, though; 18 months later, the burger patties can now be found at 5,000 grocery stores nationwide.