The Beast - which will hit the market later this year - is based on the firm’s Beyond Beef ‘beefy crumbles’ (which are made from non-GMO pea protein isolate) and is soy- and gluten-free, says VP marketing, Bob Connolly.
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA as the firm’s Beyond Beef and Beyond Chicken lightly seasoned strips (made from soy protein) started rolling out to Target stores nationwide, Connolly said The Beast would completely redefine how people see ‘veggie’ burgers.
“It's a delicious nutritional powerhouse that completely breaks the current ‘veggie burger’ stereotype. It's a burger with more protein and iron than beef, more omegas than salmon and it's packed with antioxidants, calcium and vitamins B6 and B12.
“We worked closely with a leading Ironman and ultra-marathon professional to pack the Beast with as much functionality as possible while still maintaining the 'fresh off the grill' taste you expect from a burger.”
It completely breaks the current ‘veggie burger’ stereotype
The omega-3s come from flaxseed oil, chia (short-chain omega-3s) and DHA algal oil (long-chain omega-3s), while the burger also contains beet juice, moringa, sea buckthorn, mesquite, bottlebrush herb and fulvic acid.
But it’s not going to be marketed as a ‘beef-free’ burger, says Connolly, who says the whole point of Beyond Meat is to move away from the notion that something is ‘missing’, or that eating products that don’t contain meat means compromising on taste or texture.
“Shipping now is our new packaging reflecting our shift from ‘Free’ to ‘Beyond’ to reflect the idea that we've truly left the animal version of our product behind. Why eat ground beef when you can go Beyond Beef with the same taste and texture with all the protein and half the fat?”
We're in over 5,000 retail outlets today
Beyond Beef and Beyond Chicken products are now available in more than 5,000 stores including Publix, Safeway, HEB, Target, and Whole Foods, says Connolly, while talks are also progressing with several foodservice operators.
“We’re rolling out now in over 1,200 Target stores, including all of their Super Target formats. The Super Target stores will carry four items, two items of both Beyond Beef and Beyond Chicken and the remaining Target locations will carry one Beef and one Chicken.
“We're in over 5,000 retail outlets today with plans to expand not only our distribution footprint but our product assortment as well.
“Things are progressing really well in foodservice. We're in conversations with a number of commercial and non-commercial operators to offer both our existing product line and potentially some exciting new custom items.”
A seamless experience for carnivores
Beyond Meat - co-founded by entrepreneurs Ethan Brown and Brent Taylor - launched its first products on the national stage in 2013, and has secured financial backing from VC legend Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (which backed Amazon and Google - before everyone else did), and The Obvious Corporation (an investment vehicle created by the founders of Twitter).
Based in El Segundo, California, with a manufacturing facility in Columbia, Missouri, the firm has the license to use a patented process to make meat-replicas developed by Fu-Hung Hsieh and Harold Huff at the University of Missouri.
While meat replacers have been around for years, says the company, they haven’t taken the world by storm - yet - in part because most meat analogs just don’t taste like meat.
The problem is the spongy structure (not fibrous like meat), poor flavor retention and poor moisture retention, which means meat-lovers try them once, and don’t buy them again, claims Brown, who promises to deliver “a seamless experience for carnivores, like shifting from one meat to another [that just happens to be made from plants].”
“For consumers, there’s no downside, it’s healthier, it taste great and it’s much more sustainable.”
Click HERE to read our recent interview with Beyond Meat.