by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
Beyond Meat™, from Savage River, Inc., a new meat analog company founded by Ethan Brown and based in Cumberland, Maryland, began out of concern for farm animals. Spending weekends as a child on his family’s farm, Ethan Brown grew increasingly concerned about the plight of animals raised for food. He eventually became vegan. Unsatisfied with meat analogs on the market, he decided to start a company that offered something “more realistic, tastier and cheaper.” He turned to Fu-Hung Hsieh at the University of Missouri.
Fu-Hung Hsieh, biological engineering professor at the University of Missouri, and his assistant Harold Huff, perfected over many years the technology to make a meat analog. They used an industrial extruder to which a powder mix is added to water in certain proportions and heated to a very high temperature such that meat-like striations form. Then the product is quickly cooled so that it will not melt but retain its fibrous, meat-like texture. The entire process takes only seconds. The University sold exclusive licensing rights to Brown.
Made from soy, pea protein, amaranth, and carrot fiber with a few other vegan ingredients, Beyond Meat™ Veggie Chicken Strips, according to Brown, “will appeal to vegans and vegetarians as well as mainstream consumers looking to incorporate meatless meals into their diets while maintaining the taste and texture of meat.” According to product literature, a three oz. serving of Beyond Meat™ Veggie Chicken Strips contains “18 g of complete protein, no saturated or trans fats, and is gluten-free.” It is rich in iron and low in sodium (”260 mg/3 oz. compared to similar products with up to 690 mg/3 oz. serving”). There is no white sugar in the product (the typically corn-derived sweetener, maltodextrin, is listed as an ingredient).
Brent Taylor, Vice President of Corporate Development for Beyond Meat™, told The VRG that “unlike other meat analogs, ours has a visible fiber structure that pulls apart with your fingers…and I can eat it, stand alone, hot or cold, just like real chicken.”
The VRG first learned of Brown’s product in October 2011, when the writer spotted it on the menu at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s ThanksLiving: http://woodstocksanctuary.org/news-events/events/thanksliving-2011/. There it was served as Savage River Faux Chicken Rajas in Orange Garlic Mojo. Since then, it has been served in many Mid-Atlantic universities and hospitals.
Mary Adams, Vice President of Marketing for Beyond Meat™, told us that “…36 northern California Whole Foods Markets will begin using Beyond Meat™ in some of its prepared food items in mid-June 2012.” These items may include chicken wraps, pastas, enchiladas, and salads. In Fall 2012, the product will be available to consumers as a retail item. Further expansion to other Whole Foods Markets, mainstream supermarkets, convenience stores, and similar establishments, is planned.
Soon to be launched by the company is a product called Veggie Beef Crumble first to be used in food service with eventual plans for retail sale. Plans for a pork analog are also in progress.
For updates to Beyond Meat’s™ entry to the marketplace, readers may consult its website: http://gobeyondmeat.com/
For recent press on Beyond Meat™, readers may find out more at these sources:
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including the Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from companies. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.
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