2 Ultimate burgers

“Plant-based food is hot. Vegans and vegetarians alike are doing their best to find the right ingredients to make the perfect dish that can complete a meal with other plant-based food. This in order to give it the bite that we miss when not eating meat. Editor of Dif Report, Fons Burger, tested two different burgers.

The ultimate test

1. The Dutch Weed Burger

70% of the earth surface is covered in water and with industrialisation it has become measurably more toxic.  We see this with warnings for pregnant women to not eat salmon and yet what about all life that lives in the sea.  We hear about mercury levels but also levels of dioxins, PCB’S and cadmiun are high.  

Main ingredients: Roasted shredded soy beans and seaweed.

Features: High quality protein from seaweed, omega fatty acids and minerals. The soy is GMO free and contains proteins and oils.

Extras: The burger is usually served with a bun enriched with algae, vegan mayonnaise, and seaweed.

Sidekicks: Weed bites (fried snacks), Seawharma, The Dutch Weed Dog and Wish’n’Chips. 

Sold in: The Dutch Weedburger Joint in Amsterdam and more than 200 points of sale across the Netherlands. TDWB is planning to expand to other countries in Europe and to the US.

Production: Sea vegetables are an essential supplement to the current vegetable cuisine. The type of seaweed used for this Burger is ‘Royal Kombu’ and is organically grown in the Oosterschelde National Park by Rebecca and Jennifer from Zeewaar, the first sustainable seaweed farm in the Netherlands.

Who: The idea for the Dutch Weed Burger Company was born during a trip made in 2012 by chef and author of several vegan food books, Lisette Kreischer, and filmmaker Mark Kulsdom. They decided to start a firm focused on developing the first Dutch Weed Burger.

Planet: Seaweed is called the new green gold, and many scientists believe that this green plant can save our planet. Why? Because seaweed is a high-quality source of protein, the cultivation can be done economically and doesn’t require expensive arable land. It also doesn’t require fresh water for its production.

2. The Impossible Burger

It is estimated that at least 80% of the world’s fisheries are overexploited. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) acts to protect the oceans and seas and promote environmentally sound use of marine resources.

Main ingredients: Wheat, coconut oil, potatoes and heme. Heme is commonly sourced from animal muscles, but it can also be extracted from plant roots. 

Features: High quality seaweed protein, omega fatty acids and minerals. The soy is organic and contains proteins and oils.

Extras: The burger is served in restaurants with buns and toppings of the chef’s own choice.

Sidekicks: The Impossible ‘meat’ has also been used to create several other dishes, designed by chefs in selected restaurants.

Sold: More than 100 locations in the US. Mainly in New York, Las Vegas, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Los Angeles area, and across Texas. 

Who: The Impossible Burger was founded by Emeritus Professor Patrick O. Brown at the department of biochemistry at Stanford University. Impossible Foods is a Silicon Valley startup with a mission: to make the global food system more sustainable. It started by asking the simple question, “Why does meat taste like meat?” After five years of research, Brown recreated the precise flavours, textures, aromas, and nutritional makeup of ground beef, using only plants. By understanding meat at the molecular level, he made a juicy, delicious burger that’s better for the planet.

Planet: The Impossible Burger uses a fraction of the Earth’s natural resources in comparison to traditional meat-based burgers. To be precise: 95% less land, 74% less water, resulting in 87% less greenhouse gas emissions.

To know: Heme is an iron-containing molecule that occurs naturally in every single plant and animal. Heme gives your blood its ability to carry oxygen; it’s a basic building block of life on Earth. Impossible Foods discovered that heme is what makes meat smell, sizzle, bleed, and taste gloriously meaty. It’s been consumed every day, well, every second, for hundreds of thousands of years.

Tested in: Jardiniere San Francisco and Umami Burger Soma.

One of the most important international laws for aquatic systems is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS.  This convention sets a comprehensive legal framework to regulate the space, uses and resources of our oceans.

The Test

Fish farming or aquaculture is a boom industry and now accounts for half the fish eaten in the US. It is seen as a way to meet the world’s growing demand for fish.

“I only tested the burger ‘meat’ itself, as the extras were different in all locations and I wouldn’t then be able to fairly compare the products.”

“I started with the Impossible Burger. As a part-time meat-eater and butcher’s son, I thought I would like the Impossible Burger better, because its creators spent five years imitating the taste of meat. I think that they’re 85% of the way; that’s quite an achievement. The bite is great, the fat makes it juicy enough, but I noted a minimally strange aftertaste that I couldn’t quite define.”

“As I couldn’t find out much about the very secret production process of the heme, I can’t judge that part. But I could see that the burger had a lot of other fabricated supplements added to it: Yeast Extract, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Zinc, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and Cobalamin (Vitamin B12). Nevertheless, I would give the Impossible Burger an eight out of ten.”

“The Dutch Weed Burger, however, is a novelty. It doesn’t taste like meat, but it’s much better than the multitude of vegetarian and vegan burgers I’ve tried in the past 10 years. Seaweed will, I think, have a great future in the world food security challenge, and in fact it even results in a negative net CO2 contribution to the climate. The bite is good, it’s less fatty, though that could be either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on personal taste. The taste is completely new, and although this is a very subjective opinion, I award the Dutch Weed Burger a nine out of ten.”

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