But the real secret to the convincing flavor is in heme, a molecule in hemeglobin that can be found in both animal blood and some plants. This kind of plant blood helps to recreate the taste of real cow’s blood. According to Wall Street Journal, the burger cooks and smells just like a meat patty, and has the texture of animal tissue, though it is fluffier than a true cheeseburger. The flavor is a cross between turkey and beef.
Brown isn’t the first to attempt a total overhaul of meat-free burgers. In 2013, Mark Post at Maastricht University in Belgium premiered the world’s first lab-grown burger, thanks to a $330,000 investment from Google co-founder Sergey Brin. But while Post’s creation isn’t available to the public, Brown says his version may soon be ready for consumer consumption. Impossible Foods did not immediately respond to request for comment on when the burger will be available to the public, or its expected price.
In addition to perfecting the meat-free burger, Impossible Foods also aims to develop plant-based cheeses and eggs. “Our mission is to give people the great taste and nutritional benefits of foods that come from animals without the negative health and environmental impact,” says the company’s website page.
As of July 1, the U.S. had consumed 25.5 billion pounds of beef in 2014 alone. As for now, Impossible Foods has a long way to go in convincing the public that when it comes to the beloved cheeseburger, plant-based is better.