Where’s the beef?
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy Rebecca Jones
Where’s the beef? That is the question many of us are asking as we visit our favorite burger joints and eateries, remembering when there was one beef option that was 100% all beef. As the population increases, food and diet trends continue to grow. There are more resources needed to provide optimal food choices and proteins. Many plant-based protein substitutions are now available when you visit your favorite fast food restaurant chain or local grocery.
The DCS Montessori Population Growth and Food Security ACE (Action-Creation-Exploration) class studied Impossible and Beyond Meat protein options as a two-part field trip to Castle Rock’s Promenade Qdoba Mexican Grill and King Soopers. Discussions with different points of view regarding the industry and the growing options of plant-based proteins versus beef and how this subject closely relates to food security and feeding the growing population of the planet were had among the students.
Ingredients and nutritional differences between beef and the plant-based products were tasted and evaluated. While visiting King Soopers, the group compared ingredients and nutritional value of Beyond Meat, a plant-based burger that looks, cooks and tastes like beef without GMOs, soy, or gluten. After talking with the store butcher, it was concluded that these plant-based products are gaining in popularity and are favored by those with specific dietary needs, but they are by no means affecting the sales of beef.
Impossible plant-based burgers are significantly lower in protein than beef burgers. They contain more fiber, are higher in fat and contain more carbohydrates than real beef.
Qdoba’s extensive Impossible plant-based menu of tacos, burritos and bowls allowed students to really taste and compare food items. Many students enjoyed the Impossible plant-based substitute, saying it was hard to tell the difference between it and actual beef. A few vegetarians continue to favor natural vegetables versus processed plant-based substitutes. Others choose the Impossible plant- based substitute based on their beliefs and values toward animals.
Yet, there were still a handful of students who preferred high quality beef over any substitution.