Burger King has the "Impossible Whopper," Jack in the Box offers an "Impossible" patty for their burger options and, most recently, McDonalds (in Germany) has debuted plant nuggets. Other fast food franchises that at one time offered "vegetarian" options (the product is still grilled on the same surface as beef and chicken) include the Cheese Cake Factory, Qdoba, Chipotle, Red Robin, Johnny Rockets, and White Castle. A new study from Food Research International reveals that despite or in spite of the growing popularity of plant-based protein products, "overall sensory appreciation remains low."
"This study employed open-ended questions, preference ranking, and an identification question to analyze sensory drivers and barriers to liking four burger patties, i.e., two plant-based (one referred to as pea protein burger and one referred to as animal-like protein burger), one hybrid meat-mushroom, and one 100 % beef burger."
The results may be surprising. "Results from the ranking tests for blind and informed treatments showed that the animal-like protein was the most preferred product, followed by the 100 % beef burger. Moreover, in the blind condition, there was no significant difference in preferences between the beef burger and the hybrid and pea protein burgers."
If you are a vegetarian you may have had the experience of introducing your flesh-eating friends to a scrumptious dinner, or even side, that had plant-based protein – and they loved it. Well, now you can share this research study to assure them that their culinary delight is shared with many others.
For a series of studies on "The psychology of eating animals and veg*nism," click here.