The vegan meat that isn't made for vegans

Whopper’ sits on a table at a Burger King restaurant in Richmond Heights Missouri

Here's a insane thought: What happens when the Whopper doesn't actually have meat?

Customers will have to pay around 76p more for an "Impossible" burger than the regular Whopper to offset the higher production cost.

The new recipe differs from the other veggie burgers now on offer at the chain, in that it has been made to mimic the look, feel and taste of real meat.

And it's called the "Impossible Whopper." .

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It will be available at 59 Burger King restaurants in the St. Louis area, the Times reported, and "the company had plans to quickly expand it to every branch in the country if everything in St. Louis goes smoothly".

Heme is a protein cultivated from soybean roots, that mimics the texture of meat so convincingly, that Burger King's chief marketing officer, Fernando Machado, told New York Times that their team members "who know the Whopper inside and out, they try it and they struggle to differentiate which one is which".

It was developed in collaboration with Impossible Foods, a California-based start-up company which produces plant-based food substitutes. In December, Nestlé competitor Unilever said it had bought up Dutch brand De Vegetarische Slager (The Vegetarian Butcher) to position itself in the expanding sector.

White Castle announced in December that it would permanently add the Impossible slider on its menu. The Silicon Valley company, founded in 2011, is planning to launch its products in supermarkets later this year.

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A mission statement on its website says that "using animals to make meat is a prehistoric and destructive technology". The new product is also gluten-free. It's not a veggie burger, per se. Meanwhile, the USA startup also plans on selling meatless burgers in supermarkets across the US this year, reported sources.

Nielsen says annual USA sales of plant-based meats jumped 42 percent between March 2016 and March 2019 to a total of almost $888 million. The trend is reflected in so-called "flexitarianism"―a plant-based diet with the occasional inclusion of meat―and veganism, which means the abstention from consumption of any animal products including dairy.

Going meatless provides health benefits.

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