Pea protein burgers that bleed like meat

Illustration by Kyle Shine

It looks like meat, smells like meat, tastes like meat and bleeds like meat, but Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burgers are completely plant-based, and the eerily engineered patties are now in the meat aisle in nearly 300 Northern California Safeway stores. The Beyond Burgers are intentionally placed between actual butchered animal flesh to target meat eaters with “an easy switch” to a healthier, sustainable protein source. Assistant manager Mike Van Hunnik at the Safeway on Prairie City Road in Folsom said the product has been available in stores for only a few weeks, and they’ve been selling quickly, about a case a day. Plus, the store is getting calls every day from customers to see if they’re still in stock, and the local vegan community is abuzz on social media with tips on which stores haven’t sold out yet. Van Hunnik, who is a meat eater, said he was shocked at how meaty the pea-protein-based Beyond Burger tasted. “I liked it,” he said, and he’d have it again. That’s beyond a victory.