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The Impossible Burger: a new, all plant-based alternative

Bareburger’s latest creation brings an all plant-based alternative to the menu. The “Impossible Burger” smells and tastes like real ground beef burger, but is made out of natural ingredients. Credit: Courtesy of Bareburger

Bareburger has set out to do the impossible: create a plant-based burger even carnivores will want to sink their teeth into.

The Impossible Burger is, Bareburger claims, the first-ever burger entirely made from plants. However, unlike many vegetarian and vegans type burgers, the Impossible Burger looks, smells and tastes just like a real ground beef burger, according to the company.

After premiering the Impossible Burger in Columbus, all 39 Bareburger restaurants in the US are officially serving the plant-based burger priced at $14.95.

The Impossible Burger is made from simple, natural ingredients including wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein and heme, an iron-containing molecule found in plants. George Mathew, a midwest partner with Bareburger and an Ohio State alumnus, said heme is vital in the creation of the Impossible Burger.

It is responsible for the characteristic of taste and aroma of meat, since it catalyzes all the flavors when meat is cooked,” Mathew said. “Heme is exceptionally abundant in animal muscle and it’s a basic building block of life in all organisms, including plants.”

After doing some research on heme as a primary ingredient for the Impossible Burger, Mathew said it wasn’t too long until the final steps to create the first-ever, all-plant-based burger were achieved.

“We discovered how to take heme from plants and produce it using fermentation — similar to the method that’s been used to make Belgian beer for nearly a thousand years,” he said. “Adding heme to the Impossible Burger makes it a carnivore’s delight. Super tasty.”

Chuck Xu, owner and store manager of Bareburger Short North location, said the Impossible Burger has been very successful since its Nov. 6 debut.  

“Overall it has been well received and everybody seems to like it so far,” Xu said. “Although we are fairly new to selling it, almost 10 to 15 percent of the burgers we sell [are] the Impossible Burger. People are excited for such a sustainable product that doesn’t sacrifice flavor.”

The Impossible Burger is available at both Columbus locations: Bareburger Short North at 463 N. High St. and Bareburger Clintonville at 4650 N. High St.

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