Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been developing alternatives to meat — such as beef — using plants and other ingredients to emulate the texture, taste and overall experience to real meat as closely as possible…
…but could substituting meat with alternative foods whose ingredients are derived from plants help not only satiate the great hunger for beef which Americans have had for centuries — to the point where it has been ingrained in the culture in the United States — but also repair and reverse what has been called the great nutrition collapse?
Consider the Where’s the Beef? advertising campaign from Wendy’s back in 1984 and the repeated vexatious chant from 1981 known as T Bone by Neil Young, which is nine minutes and 14 seconds about how our Canadian protagonist has mashed potatoes but none of that satisfying meaty goodness attached to the bone.
Furthermore, the production of beef is increasingly harmful to the environment overall. “Ninetieth-percentile GHG emissions of beef are 105kg of CO2eq per 100g of protein, and land use (area multiplied by years occupied) is 370 m2∙year”, according to this study from 2018 by Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek as accepted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “These values are 12 and 50 times greater than 10th-percentile dairy beef impacts (which we report separately given that its production is tied to milk demand). Tenth-percentile GHG emissions and land use of dairy beef are then 36 and 6 times greater than those of peas. High variation within and between protein-rich products is also manifest in acidification, eutrophication, and water use.”
To offset the negative aspects of beef production and consumption, alternatives have been provided for traditional beef — and, to devoted meat eaters, have mostly failed. Alternatives to beef with ingredients based from plants are consumed mostly by those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet; but most beef eaters remain skeptical…
Dunkin’ was formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts — but the company wanted to be known for more than just donuts and coffee as it expanded its menu to include such items as breakfast sandwiches years ago.
I have never been partial to sausage in general — primarily because of the typically low quality of meat which is used to make sausage, which usually includes a copious amount of fat and gristle — but I have liked the taste and aroma of certain sausages in the past…
…so I wondered to myself if I would like something with the flavor and aroma of sausage but without the fat and gristle which is normally associated with it. I sometimes encountered an inordinate amount of gristle with both the Whopper sandwich from Burger King and the traditional hamburger from TGI Fridays, which impeded upon any enjoyment I might have had out of eating an otherwise insipid hamburger. I do not like fighting with my food; and having to pick gristle out of my mouth every couple of minutes is not exactly appetizing.
A location of Dunkin’ is within walking distance of where I am based; so I decided to try the Beyond Sausage sandwich — but as I do not like cheese or some type of formed scrambled egg, I requested that they be left off of my sandwich.
I was given a big bag emblazoned with the Dunkin’ logo…
…but this small bag was what was inside that large bag.
I opened the small bag and found the Beyond Sausage sandwich upside down.
I turned it right side up to reveal the top of the multi-grain bun. Although I thought that the bread for the sandwich would automatically be an English muffin, I was told that I had a choice of bread for the sandwich; so I chose what I thought might be the healthiest option.
For example, I could have chosen a bagel or croissant instead of the multi-grain bun; but the sausage patty would have been dwarfed by the croissant…
I opened the sandwich and found an irregularly shaped patty which had stained the inside halves of the bun — and it definitely did not resemble meat upon first glance.
I then took a bite out of the sandwich, which was rather small when compared to the size of my hand.
My first impression was that it did have a flavor reminiscent of sausage — what seemed like sage as one of the seasonings was strong to the point of almost overpowering — but although the patty contained no gristle or globules of fat, its texture was dry and yet somewhat spongy.
The rather thin bun was decent; but the seeds initially resembled gristle to me due to the difference in texture from the patty itself.
Because I had the cheese and eggs removed from the sandwich, I found that it was missing something unctuous and complementary in flavor — perhaps a sauce or maybe some condiments. Could pickles or tomato have helped improve this sandwich?
Nutritional Information and Comparison
Ingredients of the Beyond Sausage Patty include water, pea protein isolate, refined coconut oil, expeller-pressed canola oil, natural flavors, rice protein, sunflower protein isolate, mung bean protein, methylcellulose, nutritional yeast — which includes dried yeast, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamin hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, and cyanocobalamin — salt, apple extract, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, potato starch, and sunflower lecithin.
“Multiple studies have linked vegetarian diets to a reduced incidence of chronic disease and cancer. Excluding meat or animal products makes a diet healthier, but there are other factors to consider”, according to this article written by Liza Torborg for the Mayo Clinic…
…but “there still aren’t enough data to say exactly how a vegetarian diet influences long-term health”, according to this article published from Harvard Medical School. “It’s difficult to tease out the influence of vegetarianism from other practices that vegetarians are more likely to follow, such as not smoking, not drinking excessively, and getting adequate exercise.”
Regardless, both articles cite that some evidence exists that vegetarians have a lower risk for cardiac events — such as a heart attack — and death from cardiac causes; that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers even though the evidence that vegetarians have a lower incidence of cancer than non-vegetarians do is minimal; and that a predominantly plant-based diet can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.
The Beyond Sausage sandwich cost $4.29 plus tax, which totaled $4.55 and is approximately the same cost — as well as a decent alternative, but too expensive, in my opinion — as the original Sausage, Egg and Cheese Sandwich if you can get past the texture issues. The differences between the two sandwiches would probably be less significant had the egg and cheese — and perhaps at least one condiment of some type — remained on the sandwich.
I was told that the Beyond Sausage sandwich rarely sells because it is not popular with customers at that specific location. I can understand that. I thought that the sandwich was not bad and ate the whole thing, and I would cautiously recommend it — even though I was not thrilled with the way it sat in my stomach for a while…
…but I still think that Dunkin’ should stick to doughnuts.