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Food & Hunger

This Bleeding, Meatless Burger Could Help Slow Climate Change

David Chang just served a meatless burger called the Impossible Burger that actually appears to bleed.

The future of food is becoming more bizarre by the minute —  from meat grown in labs and plastic-ingesting edible fungi to all that's featured on Season 2 of Chef’s Table or Mind of a Chef. Foodies have never had so much to think about. 

So how exactly did we arrive at the Impossible Burger?

First, an investment of $180 million was made to fund research for creating a veggie burger that could satisfy the most carnivorous of omnivores.

Next, the secret ingredient — heme — was found to make give the burger a pinkish center. Heme is a molecule that assists in carrying oxygen throughout the bloodstream. Think hemoglobin. Yes, there’s a lot of heme in red meat but there’s also heme in plants, and even more in yeast (probably why nutritional yeast is every vegan’s best friend).

Beside replicating the bloody look and taste, researchers at Impossible Foods needed the fat content to be just right. They ground up coconut oils into the plant-based body of the burger made from potato and wheat proteins. (Bonus — the burger has zero cholesterol, more protein, less fat and fewer calories than a beef patty.)

This process took researchers five years the final product was created by Impossible Foods. This may seem like A LOT of effort for a little veggie burger. But considering that meat consumption is devastating to the environment, this was a sound investment. 

Read more: 9 Reasons Why Veganism Can Save the World

Increasing meat consumption and the animal agriculture needed to feed more meat-eaters weighs heavily on the planet’s resources, increasing the effects of climate change. Raising cattle for meat consumption has a huge carbon footprint. Forests are continuously cleared around the world, especially in vulnerable regions with high biodiversity, and not to mention the methane from all those farting cows. Less meat means more land, water, and less carbon emissions for all. 

This growing concern about rising meat consumpion, especially in developing countries like China and India, led to the Impossible Burger. 

"If people are going to be eating burgers in 50 years, they're not going to be made from cows," Impossible Foods CEO Steven Brown told NPR. "We're saving the burger."

The final step was getting top chefs like David Chang on board.

In the weeks and months ahead, burger lovers of all stripes might find common ground in this meatless, bleeding patty. Fingers crossed it can be produced globally at a low cost in coming years!