At last TJ's Impossible/Beyond burger has hit the shelves in our local shop. Here's what they're like:
The packaging is familiar, pretty much a copy of Beyond Meat's clever idea to package them just like a real deli-wrapped burger combo.
It looks like some kind of beet ingredient is used to mimic blood, judging by the scarlet colored area on one of the patties where more of the dye/flavor was used. Looking at the ingredients, fruit and vegetable juice are used as colorants as well.
The patties are a little more Play-Dough in consistency, and feel less oily than the Beyond Burgers
As you can see, they do cook to a nice golden brown like a real burger. After cooking them completely the actual oil content reveals itself in the pan.
I was surprised to see the inside hadn't cooked as much as I would have liked. It was still a little medium rare in appearance.
As for the taste and texture, the lesser cooked portions still had a pastey mouth feel. They're generally good although nowhere near the likeness of beef compared to the Beyond and Impossible burgers.
I'm not sure how to describe this but the meaty taste seemed influenced more by added flavors than by the natural quality of its ingredients. Checking the ingredient list, "Natural Flavors" doesn't tell us what those flavor ingredients are, but it's higher in the list than I would have imagined.
How does this compare to the Beyond Burger?
We still have natural flavors pretty high up the list, although we still don't know if those flavors have anything in common with those of TJ's. There are more ingredients in a Beyond Burger, but they both employ a similar strategy of combining pea protein, plant cellulose, sunflower oil, and beets. How about the Impossible Burger?
Impossible Foods takes a pretty different approach, most notably with their own yeast-fixated Leghemoglobin which produces the same "heme" ingredient as is produced in root nodules of soybean plants. This ingredient is powerful enough to do away with any colorants and/or beets.
The protein and fibers come instead from wheat, potato, and a little soy whereas Beyond and TJ's use pea protein and other vegetable proteins.