Editor-in-chief Andy Hanacek does a taste test of The Beyond Burger, the world’s first plant-based burger that looks and cooks like beef. Here is his thoughts on the burger:

Andy Hanacek: I’m going to make you guys watch me do the one thing nobody likes to watch on video. Well, maybe not the one thing. I’m going to make you guys watch me eat.

Hey, friends! Welcome back to From the Editor’s Desk. There have been a bevy of non-meat meat products cropping up in the industry, and it was about time for somebody like me to try at least one of them. A Beyond Meat Burger. Gotta try it, and I did.

It may seem weird, but here I am trying this Beyond Meat Burger to see how it tastes. Looks like it’s got the texture. It’s greasy. So let’s try it. Its texture is pretty solid. It’s definitely got the taste of meat, of beef, but it’s not really exactly right. There is a—I don’t know—grainy kind of taste that makes sense. I’d say the texture is a little more—it would have to be an extremely fine textured beef if there were bread crumbs in it.

So as you can see, it was not bad. It wasn’t perfect, but it certainly was a whole lot better than most of the veggie burgers I’ve ever had. I ordered this burger at a restaurant in Arkansas. I asked them to cook it the best they could, normally like they would if a random customer ordered it, without a bun. I talked to a couple of the wait staff, and they told me about customers who could now eat something that performed and tasted much more like a burger even though they were vegetarian or vegan or one gentleman developed an allergy to beef and pork because he was bitten by a tick.

Now, what are my thoughts? Well, I can’t say that I could see this burger replacing beef burgers. It was good. It was really tasty, but I’m not going to order it because I can eat beef. For a customer who cannot eat beef, this is a pretty good facsimile of what we are used to eating in the meat industry. The texture was pretty solid, but it was borderline Thanksgiving stuffing texture, which was kind of odd, but the flavor was pretty close, and there was a grease on my fingers.

So what should the industry do? Well, Tyson has invested in Beyond Meat, so they’re aware and obviously interested in where this part of the marketplace is going to go. Other processors have invested in other companies that are doing these imitation type products. Those of you who have not truly investigated where your company may fit in this marketplace whether because of your traditional leanings or maybe it’s just loyalty to the industry, it’s time to put that stuff aside and really think about how you can hedge your business into this niche. Again, I’m probably not going to buy these products. I can enjoy ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey anytime I want, but there’s a whole host of customers out there who can’t enjoy it but would like to enjoy the flavor, the texture, and the greasiness of a burger like a Beyond Meat Burger. You need to be a part of that even if it’s a little part.