Business Insider Edition

We paid R130 for the American plant-based Beyond Burger that has created a R100 billion company – and it tasted just like meat

Jay Caboz , Business Insider SA
 Jun 23, 2019, 07:56 AM
Jay Caboz
Photo Jay Caboz.
  • The Beyond Burger offers an alternative, vegan-friendly burger option made from stuff that is 100% not meat. 
  • Beyond Meat made headlines after listing on the New York Stock exchange and is now worth a whopping R100 billion.
  • The Houdini Burger sells for R129 – making it the most expensive burger option on menus in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
  • For more stories, go to www.businessinsider.co.za.


A plant-based patty is masquerading as a real burger patty on restaurant menus in parts of South Africa – and it is just as good as the real thing, if you can afford it.

Called the Beyond Burger, it offers an alternative, vegan-friendly burger option made from 100% stuff that is not meat. Instead it is made from a rather interesting mix of ingredients that include pea protein isolates, expeller-pressed Canola Oil and beetroot used as a colouring agent to give it a juicy 'bloody' look.

Its creators, Beyond Meat, debuted on the public market last month in a blockbuster initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange and is now worth a whopping R100 billion. That makes the company more valuable than Harley Davidson, TripAdvisor or macys, reports Reuters.

The company counts Microsoft founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio among its investors.

The patties are produced in the United States and distributed in Africa by Infinite Foods and Crossover Quality Meat and promoted by ProVeg - an international organisation that wants to reduce animal consumption by 50% by 2040.

Neil Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at Infinite Foods & Crossover Quality Meat, told Fin24 the patties have been distributed in 150 restaurants in South Africa and Botswana.

The fake beef burger makers' goal is to go head-to-head with the meat industry and ultimately end up on the same counters at supermarkets, providing an environmentally friendly alternative to methane producing bovine industry.  

Business Insider South Africa headed down to our local Hudsons The Burger Joint in Greenpoint to see if the juice was worth the squeeze:

We found the burger listed among its vegan alternative burgers. 

Hudsons
Hudsons The Burger Joint in Greenpoint menu.

Hudsons charge R35 to swop out a beef patty for a Beyond Beef one, unlike any other option which are not charged. The cost of the patty is high because it is imported from the US. 


The Houdini Burger sells for R129 – making it the most expensive burger option on Hudson’s Menu.

Jay Caboz
The Houdini Burger includes a Beyond Burger patty for R129. Photo Jay Caboz

This is more expensive than any burger option – with its closest competitor costing R115 that includes a 250g beef patty and a lot of toppings. It is also R34 more expensive than its other alternative veggie burger options.

Burgers built around the patty go for similar prices in other eateries in Johannesburg and Cape Town.


At first glance the burger looked small – too small when compared to other Hudsons burgers.    

113g
The patty is imported in 113g serving portions.

If you are paying R129 bucks for a burger is should be massive right? Think again. Sadly, the patty is served as a 113g portion, that’s 67g grams short of the small serving of a burger patty in the restaurant (180g).


But when we cut into it, our opinion of the burger started to change.

Jay Caboz
Photo Jay Caboz.

The burger looked like it was made from real beef, full of juicy goodness. If you had dished this up for me and told me it was a meat patty, I would have believed you.

When I bit into it, it held that same chunky meaty texture of a beef burger. The flavour was bang on with a hint of barbecue marinade to top it off.


Verdict - delicious, but don't come hungry.  

Jay Caboz
Saving the best for last. The burger was delicious. Photo Jay Caboz

The burger was delicious. It is remarkable that Beyond Meat has been able to replicate the taste and flavour of beef, from 100% not beef.

However, the portion size versus the exorbitant cost make it far too pricey for it to be a feasible replacement as a meal option. Until the price drops, I would find it hard to imagine any meat-lover being tempted from their preferred option.

I’ve had plenty of veggie burgers that come in at a cheaper price and are just as vegan-friendly, and just as good for environment. They may not taste like meat, but they are delicious – without having to take a chunk out of your wallet. 

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