In a huge step for the plant-based meat movement, Impossible Foods partnered with Burger King to roll out the Impossible Whopper nationwide earlier this year. As you might expect, the rollout garnered a lot of hoorahs from plant-based advocates and a lot of grumbles from plant-based skeptics. In any case, you may be wondering how this Impossible Burger version compares to the original beef-based counterpart. Here’s what you need to know about taste, ingredients, calories and more.
Read more: Is plant-based meat better for the environment than real meat?
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What is the Impossible Whopper?
The Impossible Whopper is a plant-based version of Burger King’s famous Whopper sandwich, made with an Impossible Foods burger patty. It looks exactly the same and, according to CNET editor Brian Cooley, tastes just the same.
What is the Impossible Whopper made of?
The Impossible Whopper includes everything that comes on a regular Whopper: a quarter-pound patty, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, white onions and a sesame seed bun.
But in place of the usual flame-grilled beef patty, there’s an Impossible Burger patty, which consists of a unique ingredient called soy leghemoglobin, among the other ingredients that make Impossible Burgers so meat-like.
Is the Impossible Whopper vegetarian or vegan?
Vegetarian? Yes. Vegan? No. Totally friendly to all plant-based eaters? No again.
The Impossible Whopper, served as-is on the menu, cannot be vegan because the burger is topped with mayonnaise, which is made with eggs. Many vegetarians, however, do eat eggs and dairy products, so you could classify the burger as vegetarian.
Either way, the burger as a whole may not be entirely friendly for vegans or vegetarians.
Fast food restaurants are notorious for cross-contamination, or transferring ingredients from one food or meal to another. In the case of the Impossible Whopper, cross-contamination occurs between real meat and Impossible’s faux meat: The restaurant acknowledges that the Impossible Whopper patty cooks in the same broiler as chicken and beef.
You can, however, request a nonbroiler method of preparation for a fully meat-free burger, and order it sans mayonnaise for a fully vegan burger.
How many calories does the Impossible Whopper have?
The Impossible Whopper contains 630 calories. That’s not a small number for a single meal, but it is less than the original Whopper’s — excuse the pun — whopping 660 calories. Combine with a soda and fries, and either meal will amount to more than 1,000 calories.
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Is the Impossible Whopper healthier than a regular Whopper?
Whether the Impossible Whopper offers a better nutritional profile than the regular Whopper depends on your perspective on “healthy” food. To be frank, neither version of the Whopper is particularly healthy. Fast food tends to be ultraprocessed and high in calories, refined carbohydrates, sodium and inflammatory oils — whether plant-based or not.
And there’s still no consensus on whether plant-based meat is better for you than regular meat. The nutrition facts between the Impossible Whopper and regular whopper don’t vary by a lot, with the exception of sodium, so you may be better off making your decision based on morals and beliefs versus health concerns.
Impossible Whopper vs. Regular Whopper Nutrition Facts
|Impossible Whopper||Regular Whopper|
|630 calories||660 calories|
|34 g fat (11 g saturated fat)||40 g fat (12 g saturated fat)|
|0 g trans fat||1.5 g trans fat|
|10 mg cholesterol||90 mg cholesterol|
|1080 mg sodium||980 mg sodium|
|58 g carbohydrates||49 g carbohydrates|
|4 g fiber||1 g fiber|
|12 g sugar||11 g sugar|
|25 g protein||28 g protein|
Hungry for more? Burger King isn’t the only place you can get your hands on an Impossible Burger: You can order tons of droolworthy creations at more than 10 restaurant chains around the US.
Originally published earlier this week.