Has Science Finally Created a Veggie Burger You’d Mistake for the Real Thing?

If it bleeds, we can grill it

If it looks like a burger, tastes like a burger and bleeds like a burger, it has to be a burger, right? Not really. Enter the Impossible Burger, a veggie substitute for the real thing invented by Patrick Brown, a biochemistry professor at Stanford.

The Impossible Burger is made of plant matter and uses a secret ingredient that makes it bleed and taste like meat—that ingredient is the protein heme, which is found in red blood cells and nitrogen-fixing plants. Brown is also researching substitute cheese products.

"The way that the world makes its meat and cheese today is really the most environmentally destructive industry on the planet," Brown told Bloomberg. "We are creating a product that we intend to be more delicious than the best burger you've ever tasted."

Two Wall Street Journal reporters who sampled the plant burger said it tasted somewhere between turkey and the real thing without leaving you with that bloated, lethargic feeling.

Brown has created his own startup, Impossible Foods, which has attracted a reported $75 million in funding from such luminaries as Bill Gates and Google Ventures, the Journal reported.

Impossible Foods isn’t the first company to try to build a better "frankenburger." Last year a Dutch researcher produced lab-grown meat from cow cells that cost a quarter million euros to produce.

For now, the Impossible Burger costs $20 to make, which is impossibly pricey by McDonald's or Burger King standards. But McDonald's has been talking about adding more organic alternatives to its menu to boost sales, which could eventually make room for mass-produced McDonald’s Impossible Cheeseburgers.