560 N. Main St. Doylestown, Pa 18901
After seeing all of the promotional commercials for Burger King’s brand new plant based Impossible Whopper, and reading a lot about the Impossible Burger online, I decided to compare and contrast the regular beef Whopper with the Impossible Whopper at my local Burger King for taste, quality, satisfaction, price, and nutrition. I also decided that multiple taste testers would not only be a lot of fun for me, but that it would bring to my review a broader and more collective impression from a group of foodies as well.
I created a “Review With A Crew” for this interesting food adventure on a Saturday afternoon at noon on Feb 8th, 2020. My crew consisted of two men and three women foodies, all of whom were burger lovers, and very interested in testing out if all the hype around the new Impossible Whopper was in fact worth eating and buying. We wanted to find out if this was going to be a delicious option for us to choose if we desired to eat something perceived as more healthy, or potentially lower in overall calories and fats, or a good vegetarian substitute for beef. And since Burger King wasn’t necessarily advertising its plant based veggie Whopper as “healthy”, but one that the consumers would not be able to tell the difference in the taste and appearance from their beefy counterparts, well this made us even more intrigued to try the new Impossible Whopper. Due to the fact that offering vegetarian options in fast food restaurants has become increasingly mainstream all across America, the crew and I couldn’t wait to dive in and get started tasting and comparing the two Whopper types.
I bought 2 beef Whoppers and two Impossible plant based Whoppers, and cut each into tasting portions for all five of us evaluators.
We started with eating the beef Whopper samples first, all at the same time.
All five of us thoroughly enjoyed the beef Whopper a lot, with its smoky flame broiled juicy beef patty, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles on a yummy sesame seed bun.
One of the testers would clarify that the beef Whopper was “decent”, but she also admits to generally not being a huge fast food burger fan.
Another tester felt that the beef Whopper had all the great backyard tastes that he remembers from being a kid. It conjured up great happy edible memories of homemade delicious grilled burgers at home while growing up. All five of us really enjoyed our sampling of the beef Whopper, and smiled happily through each and every yummy bite!
Next was the highly anticipated comparison of the new and trendy Impossible plant based Whopper.
We each took our Impossible Whopper samples and began eating with excitement all at the same time. Once chewing began, we looked around the table at each other, attempting to gain perspective if anyone was showing expressions of liking or disliking their Impossible Whopper.
Then the discussions began, and it was highly informative.
Four out of the five of us said that we were not enjoying the Impossible Whopper due to it lacking any taste at all. It was not satisfying the need we had wanted for a yummy beef alternative sandwich. The four taste testers who did not enjoy the plant based Whopper also felt that the Impossible Burger patty looked like a sponge, had zero taste (“like air”), it was dry (without oil or moistness), and that there was almost “nothing there” to taste inside of the bun. It was as if the plant-based burger was completely lost in the overall taste and satisfaction, and it got lost in the mouth too. There also wasn’t any noticeable element of flame-broiled taste that we all love so much. All we tasted was overwhelmingly the bread bun, and then a touch of lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, mayo, and a slight earthy taste of soy. None of the four of us enjoyed the overall taste of this vegetarian Whopper.
One taste tester out of five, however, really enjoyed her sampling of the Impossible Whopper. She remarked that after eating it, that it felt less filling and lighter in her stomach. She felt that she was in fact getting the same burger experience as she would have if eating a beef Whopper. This tester was not the same person who stated earlier that she isn’t a big fan of fast food burgers, but an opinion of another evaluator.
My personal impression and review of the Burger King Impossible Whopper would be in agreement with the four out of five taste testers who felt the Impossible Whopper did not meet the taste standards we expect to get when we want a great tasting burger of any kind (meat or veggie).
For me, the plant-based Impossible Whopper was very lacking in not only taste, but also in quality, visual appeal, and general satisfaction when eating it. It didn’t taste good, or leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling that you get when you eat something really delicious and satisfying. The Impossible Whopper was just really bland. Lastly, the not so delicious plant based Whopper costs a dollar more than the regular beef Whopper (Impossible Whopper costs $5.89 compared to $4.89 for the beef Whopper). This is yet another reason that I would not order this again or recommend it.
I give the Impossible Whopper 1 J out of a possible 5 J’s.
Some additional interesting facts:
The Impossible Whopper at Burger King is actually flame broiled on the same conveyer belt as the beef burgers served there. So if you are vegetarian, then your vegetarian burger will have some amount of beef grease on it.
I was told by the employee that took my order, that you can ask to have your Impossible Whopper microwaved instead, to avoid cross contamination by the shared broiler belt. But honestly, that doesn’t sound one bit delicious to me. Microwaving a burger of any kind, yuck!
The Impossible Burger itself is gluten-free, but the Impossible Whopper is not gluten-free since it is served on a traditional bread bun.
Additionally, because the Impossible Whopper has mayo on it, then it is not vegan, only vegetarian. This can be easily remedied if you are vegan though, by requesting no mayo topping and the microwave cooking option.
Nutritional facts comparing Burger King’s beef Whopper to their vegetarian Impossible Whopper:
The beef Whopper has 660 calories, while the Impossible Whopper has 630 calories.
The beef Whopper has 40 gm of fat and 90mg cholesterol, as opposed to the Impossible Whopper having 34 gm of fat and 10mg of cholesterol. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for daily fat intake are to stay within 20-30% of our overall daily calories. So, for a 2,000 calorie diet, that would mean consuming fat in a range of roughly 44 gms of fat intake daily.
With protein quantities, the beef Whopper contains 28 gm of protein and the Impossible Whopper has 25 gm. The recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8gm protein per kilogram body weight. Protein is an extremely important nutritional component for maintaining good health and immunity, so having enough protein each day is vitally important.
The beef Whopper contains 980 mg of sodium, and the Impossible burger has 1,240mg. The American Dietary Guidelines for recommended salt intake is less than 2,300mg per day total, or approximately one teaspoon of salt daily.
The beef Whopper has 49gm carbohydrates and the Impossible burger has 58 gm carbohydrates. The Dietary Guidelines state that carbs should be 45-65% of daily calories consumed. This means for a 2,000 calorie diet, the carbs should be in the range of approximately 225-325gms total per day.
Both the beef Whopper and the Impossible plant based Whopper evaluated are quite close in nutritional data. Neither one of them can qualify as healthy, low in fat, low calorie, low carb, or low in salt. While eating beef is well known to contain high amounts of unhealthy saturated, monounsaturated, and trans fats, the beef Whoppers also contain high amounts of salt and lack generally the many important nutritional components needed for a healthy American diet.
In comparison, the Impossible Whoppers are also not considered by many nutritional experts to be a very sizable healthy option for consumers.
They were birthed through highly processed means in a laboratory, as well as being a GMO food (genetically modified organism). Scientists literally created this veggie burger in a lab, and there have been lots of processing on top of processing to get it to this final plant based patty stage. Many could easily assume that ordering a plant based fast food burger could seemingly translate into a “healthier option”, but this claim is very much debatable just by looking at the nutritional data published online.
If helping the environment is a high priority to you, then eating plant based burgers can definitely help our planet to be a bit healthier. With consuming less animal protein world wide, it can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created by animals and animal processing. This yields a smaller carbon footprint in our world, which is better for our earth long term and for us as well.
Whatever you decide to eat, the beef Whopper or the Impossible Whopper, each have their advantages and disadvantages. There is no one right choice. But as for taste, the beef Whopper wins hands down over the Impossible Whopper.
Www.fda.gov, daily nutritional recommendations
Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, “How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day”, posted June 18, 2015, by Daniel Pendick exec editor
Healthline, “How Many Carbs Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight?”, Jan. 9, 2018, by Kris Gunnars, BSc
Healthline, Protein Intake- “How Much Protein Should You Eat Per day?”, July 5, 2015, by Kris Gunnars, BSc
MarketWatch.com, “Burger King’s meatless Impossible Whopper will now be available nationwide”, Aug. 1, 2019, by Jeanette Settembre
Mayo Clinic, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition and Healthy Eating, “What’s an easy way to see how much fat I eat each day”, by Katherine Zeratsky RD, LD