Over a six-year span, Beyond and Impossible Burgers have gone from mere eco-conscious curiosities speculated on endlessly but rarely tasted, to fast food menu staples. At the dawn of 2021, the two brands are continuing to fight for dominance of the American fast-food space. Numbers-wise, Beyond Meat holds a considerable edge over Impossible Foods — whether that comes from restaurants liking the product better or a difference in price is tough to say.
From a flavor standpoint, we’re actually a little more convinced of Impossible’s meat-mimicking power. But maybe we need to stop thinking about plant-based meat as something meant solely to imitate meat in the first place. After all, the burgers aren’t just for the meat-averse. People opt for plant-based options for an increasing number of reasons — from health to ecology to flat out flavor preference.
Does Plant-Based Meat Live Up To The Hype?
Many articles touting the health wonders of plant-based meats like to cite a popular study from 2016, which found that plant-based diets were linked to a healthier lifestyle by lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. However, the keyword here is “diet.” So unless you’re about to change the way you eat entirely, grabbing that Impossible Whopper (which actually has more sodium than its meaty cousin!) isn’t going to do much to impact your health.
When it comes to lowering your carbon footprint, you’ll be happy to hear that plant-based meats perform pretty well. According to the United Nations Food And Agriculture Organization, livestock accounts for a whopping 14.5 percent of yearly greenhouse gas emissions with cattle alone producing 65 percent of those emissions. In order to have cattle graze worldwide, forests are cleared en masse. Couple that with the methane that cows produce and our fast food burger habit is absolutely exacerbating climate change.
According to the New York Times, a study commissioned by Beyond Meat and conducted by the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan compared the environmental impact of making a four-ounce Beyond Burger with a similar beef product in the United States found that the production of the Beyond Burger generated 90 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, required 46 percent less energy, and demanded far less water and land use than it would take to raise the cow that would become the burger.
Meanwhile, Our World In Data points out that tofu, beans, peas, and nuts — the protein sources most commonly used in plant-based meat products — all have lower carbon footprints than even the most environmentally responsible meat and dairy producers. If lowering your carbon footprint is important to you, choosing plant-based fast food will help. Though picking a full-on bean patty would be much better.
Whether you’re eating at home or testing the plant-based fast food waters, here’s an updated list of all the grocers, online stores, and nationwide fast-food joints selling both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Let’s get out there and eat some plants!
A&W’s Beyond Burger was once a Canadian exclusive but is now available in the states at select locations nationwide. Meaning you can now swig down some quality root beer while you eat a plant-based burger.
What more can you ask for?
Bareburger has a whole mess of Beyond Burgers and is, by far, the one burger chain on this list giving plant-based meat the spotlight it deserves.
That standouts we see are:
- The Original — a quarter-pound burger with American cheese, onions, pickles, and special sauce.
- The Golden State — featuring gouda, green leaf lettuce, red onions, organic ketchup, and tomatoes.
- The Duchess — gouda, caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, baby kale, tomatoes, and organic garlic aioli.
There are five other burgers you can dive into, too. This place is clearly serious about plant-based meat.
Pizza is probably the easiest food to eat while totally avoiding meat. So while we certainly didn’t need a vegan spicy chorizo topping option at Blaze Pizza, we’ll happily take it!
BurgerFi offers the best of both worlds, allowing you to have Beyond Meat in any of their burgers or a BurgerFi Veggie Patty for those looking for a more earthy taste. BurgerFi also offers angus and wagyu beef patties, in case you feel like dipping back over to the dark side for a bit.
Ahh, the Impossible Whopper. Not only have we tasted this thing, but we’ve examined how it stacks up against its meat counterpart, the Original Burger King Whopper. Our verdict was that the burgers were essentially interchangeable. So if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and like BK, this is an easy pick.
Carl’s Jr. was one of the first big chains to embrace Beyond Meat with their Beyond Famous Star and Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger. Since those early days, Carl’s Jr. has also put out a Beyond Sausage Burrito and Beyond Sausage Egg and Cheese — ensuring that all your plant-based needs are covered through breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Just when you thought the Cheesecake Factory menu was overdone, they decided to add yet another item to their “A Song of Ice and Fire”-sized list of offerings. (Are Game of Thrones references officially dated? Not according to recent news.)
The Cheesecake Factory Impossible Burger has been sold nationwide since August of 2018. Why they didn’t take this opportunity to introduce the Impossible Meatcake we’ll never understand, but we’re holding our breath in anticipation!
Chronic Taco has a Beyond Beef Crumble that can be ordered in any one of their tacos, burritos, or bowls. They also serve a potato taco which is a delicious and traditional Mexican-food option that edges out the Beyond flavor-wise.
The Beyond Beef Crumble is vegan-friendly, gluten and soy-free, and packs a whopping 55 grams of protein and only 3 grams of fat. Now you’ll just have to convince your friends to eat at a place called Chronic Taco.
Del Taco now serves Beyond Meat tacos at all 580 of their locations across the country. We’ve tried it. It certainly tastes meat-ish! Order a taco, burrito, or nachos and substitute Beyond Meat for real meat.
Pro-tip: Order a Beyond Meat soft taco, fill that baby up with some crinkle-cut fries and you’ve got yourself a flavor bomb!
After a soft launch in the Los Angeles market, Denny’s new Beyond Burger is now available nationwide. Denny’s Beyond is served on a toasted sesame seed bun with thick pickle chips, red onions, and juicy chunks of tomato.
Now bring on the Beyond Sausage breakfast, Denny’s!
Disney World serves “grilled vegetarian burgers” park-wide and at several restaurants operating on the premises. Whether you’re grabbing an Impossible burger at the House of Blues or a more generic variation somewhere in the Epcot Center, the world of Disney has got us covered in terms of plant-based burgers.
Warning, they’ll probably be the most expensive plant-based burgers you’ll ever buy, which will pair nicely with your expensive churro.
Doghaus saw the plant-based meat wars and decided, “Nah, we ain’t picking sides.” As far as we can tell, Doghaus is the only chain to serve both meat 2.0 brands, thanks to their Impossible Burger and Beyond Sausage Dog.
Originally a Manhattan exclusive, the Dunkin’ Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich is now available nationwide. It looks almost identical to a regular breakfast sausage sandwich, only the meat is made from plants! Accompanying the Beyond Sausage patty are egg and aged white cheddar cheese, so it’s not vegan — but it is tasty.
If you’re a big Fatburger fan, you probably already know that they’re selling an Impossible Fatburger. The Impossible Fatburger is currently available at every Fatburger location in America with some locations even carrying vegan Daiya cheese.
Bump that Daiya access to all locations and Fatburger may just win the plant-based burger battle!
Fuddruckers is the “Build Your Own Burger” bar, so it’s only natural that you should be able to build a non-meat-based burger here, right? Bingo.
Fuddruckers now has a veggie burger in select locations known as the Fudds Faus. The Fudds Faus uses its own proprietary veggie blend — so while it’s not Beyond or Impossible, it’s also not meat — we’re counting it!
Since December of last year, the Hard Rock Cafe has been serving the Impossible Burger at all 40 company-owned locations in the United States. What tastes better than an Impossible Burger with double cheese and a giant fried onion ring inside of it?
Don’t answer that, because the answer is “a beef burger with double cheese and a giant friend onion ring.” But the planet is in trouble, so it might not be a bad idea to make some concessions.
Little Caesars is trying out a Supreme Pizza made in collaboration with Impossible Meats. The Impossible Supreme Pizza consists of caramelized onions, mushrooms, green pepper, and Impossible Sausage, which the meat 2.0 company made especially for Little Caesars.
Blaze Pizza, take note, this is how you go meatless!
This has yet to roll out nationwide, but Little Caesars CEO David Scrivano indicated to Cheddar that a nationwide rollout is likely after the test markets responded well. Currently, this is only available at test markets in Yakima, Washington, Fort Meyers, Florida, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Texas and California Mediterranean chain restaurant Luna Grill has a Beyond Burger served with grilled red onions, shredded kale, diced tomatoes, and a mouth-water spicy feta cheese sauce.
The McPlant is already going strong in Canada and this year the Golden Arches have plans to bring the plant-based patty — which is neither Impossible or Beyond — to the United States. We’ll be sure to update this with a review as soon as it’s available!
At PizzaRev you get to build your own pie. In addition to offering all vegan-friendly sauces, the chain also gives you the option to select Daiya vegan mozzarella and top their pies with a whole host of veggies and Beyond Meat options.
Qdoba now sells Impossible Tacos and Bowls at all 730 of its locations. I’d argue that, generally speaking, the meat 2.0 tacos are actually considerably better than the burgers. So if you’ve been burned by an Impossible or Beyond burger in the past, consider giving the tacos a try.
Red Robin first introduced their Impossible Burger on April Fools’ Day of this year. Why any company does anything on April Fools’ Day is beyond us, but the Red Robin Impossible Burger is no joke. The best part about the chain’s approach is that you could swap the Impossible Burger patty into any of Red Robin’s gourmet burgers. That’s an approach we’d like to see more chains take up with regards to the meat substitute.
The Shake Shack ’Shroom Burger consists of a portobello mushroom cap with Muenster and cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Shack Sauce. While it’s not quite an Impossible or Beyond meat, it still deserves some mention. The ‘Shroom Burger is by no means bad — they’re actually pretty tasty — but they don’t exactly satiate that meat craving like an Impossible or Beyond Burger might.
Still, Mushrooms do have a meaty texture with lots of umami, so it’s almost there. Shake Shack also has a Veggie burger that is exclusive through their app but only from limited locations — so we aren’t counting it.
A Beyond Burger at a convenience store? Yup! Sheetz now serves Beyond Burgers at each of its 597 East Coast stores. Sheetz Beyond is completely customizable with a whole host of sauce, cheese, and bun choices that enable you to curate your meal.
Your move, 7-11!
Last year Starbucks finally got on the plant-based meat bandwagon with the brand’s Impossible Breakfast Sandwich, which consists of an Impossible brand sausage patty atop fried egg and cheddar cheese on ciabatta bread.
The Beyond Meatball Marinara Sub has everything you love about the classic Subway sandwich only with a ball of plant-based meat at its center. Packed with 24 grams of protein per six inches, the Beyond Meatball Marinara Sub will leave you just as satisfied as its hearty meatball counterpart, all while slightly reducing your carbon footprint.
That’s a win-win.
It’s not out yet, but you can bet on 2021 bringing Taco Bell’s first Beyond taco to the market — sure to be an exciting day for Taco Bell fans everywhere. The chain already has one of the biggest vegetarian-friendly menus in the fast-food space, having a Beyond Taco will seal the deal.
We never thought we’d say this but Taco Bell is a true friend to vegetarians everywhere.
Since January 2018 people have been “thanking God” that TGI Fridays has a Beyond Burger. Bad joke? Just stop your criticism and eat your dang Beyond burger. At over 469 participating locations nationwide, you’ll have the option to substitute the beef patty in any TGI Fridays burger for Beyond Meat.
Umami Burger was one of the first burger spots to offer up an Impossible Burger and the small chain currently has three different iterations of the burger on their menu. With the Impossible Trufflemaker, you get an all-vegan bun, miso mustard sauce, charred green chili salsa, truffle fondue, truffle aioli, port wine, a truffle glaze, curly lettuce, and tomato.
If that doesn’t make your mouth water and fill you with ideas of eating way less meat, we don’t know what will. Unless the Impossible Vegan BBQ is more your speed, with an espresso rub, smokey bbq sauce, and thinly sliced jalapeño with the aforementioned miso mustard and charred green chili salsa. With ingredients like that, the meat hardly matters.
If you’re already living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, you probably already know all about Veggie Grill. If you’re new or interested in becoming vegan or vegetarian, welcome to your new McDonald’s. Veggie Grill is a fast-casual vegan restaurant, their entire menu is vegan friendly and they have plenty of plant-based meat products on their menu, from Beyond Cheesesteak Sandwiches to chopped Chickin’ salads.
Wahl Burger, the only burger chain partly owned by a member of the Funky Bunch, proudly serves a quarter-pound Impossible Burger with smoked cheddar cheese, lettuce, caramelized onions, Paul’s signature Wahl sauce, and some housemade chili-spiced tomatoes.
It’s such a good vibration, it’s such a sweet sensation. (NOT AT ALL SORRY!)
White Castle has been selling an Impossible version of their 2×2 inch slider at participating locations nationwide for about a year now. Since every stoner’s favorite East Coast burger chain was such an early adopter of Impossible, it has given the company some time to start experimenting.
This past April, White Castle introduced the BBQ Impossible Slider, and though we haven’t had one we imagine it’s now even harder for meat 2.0 skeptics to tell the difference between the Impossible and the real deal.
America’s favorite sports bar chain, Yard House, is home to the unimaginatively named “Beyond Burger,” featuring pickles, vegan mozzarella, red onions, tomato, arugula, smashed avocado, and a slaw made from mixed field greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette atop a fresh-baked onion bun.
Nice call on the arugula over something like butter lettuce, but we’re still feeling salty over the basic name.
All The Markets Selling Beyond and Impossible Meat
If you love yourself a plant-based burger so much that you’re looking to swap out meat for a Beyond or Impossible product permanently, you’ll be pleased to know that they have this stuff in markets too! With sausage, chicken, and taco meat plant-based products, swapping out meat for something altogether better for the environment is easier than ever.
In terms of availability, Beyond is absolutely mopping the floor with Impossible, with availability at 26 grocery stores chains across the country compared to Impossible’s presence in just three. This is a large disparity that’ll leave Impossible fans vulnerable to being swooped up by Beyond’s convenience. Step it up Impossible Foods!
Beyond Meat products can be found at:
- Food Lion
- Harris Teeter
- Central Market
- Sprouts Farmers Market
- Stater Bros Market
- Whole Foods
Impossible Foods can be found at: