Consumer Reports: Tasty hamburger alternative

CHARLESTON, SC – Supermarkets sell dozens of veggie burgers—many aimed at people who like hamburgers but don’t want to eat red meat. Consumer Reports’ food experts tried to find one that comes close to the taste and texture of real beef.

In the initial taste tests of 12 products, most didn’t have a beef-like flavor or texture.

Included in the tests, the new Beast Burger, available in Whole Foods and other specialty markets. It’s made with pea protein and costs $3 per patty.

Consumer Reports’ sensory panel blind-tasted the burgers plain, then with a bun, lettuce, tomato, and ketchup. The panelists found the Beast Burger unconvincing.

Ethan Brown, the CEO of Beyond Meat, makers of the Beast burger, says, “The Beast burger is our best selling product, and is loved by many elite athletes who use it as a tasty and convenient clean protein. The Beast is not intended as a replication of a beef burger but rather a delicious, nutrient dense, source of protein that also delivers antioxidants, omegas, and a host of benefits.”

Consumer Reports found Morningstar Farms Grillers Original burgers far closer to meat-like. They’re made mainly from textured vegetable protein. The patties cost $1.25 each.

Are veggie burgers better for you than meat? Many have a similar amount of protein as a beef burger, and some have a lot less saturated fat. And the veggie versions do provide some fiber, which meat does not. But not all veggie burgers are low in saturated fat or sodium. So it is a good idea to the read the labels.

Whichever veggie burger you try, Consumer Reports’ testers found that putting it on a soft bun with traditional toppings such as lettuce and tomato goes a long way toward making it more like a real beef burger.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

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