Battle of The Plant-Based Burgers

In a world where meat is not really meat, and social influencers are not really social influencers (or funny for that matter), one lone Food Tech dares to compare two different burgers

Hi guys, Aavi here again, and today I’ll be making a comparison between the Avo No Bull Burger from Kauai and the Beyond Burger (with vegan bacon and cheese) from the Vegan Chef. These burgers both make use of plant-based patties. They will be measured using a scale similar to that of a Hedonic Scale and each of their sensory attributes will be assessed. The focus of this would be the plant-based patty and how it interacts with its components. Prices may also creep up during the interview.

What is Plant-Based?

Plant-based meats are products designed to imitate meat (also referred to as meat analogues). Plant-based meats are trying to mimic the taste, texture, smell, and appearance of meat.

What is the Hedonic Scale?

The study of hedonics is the science of pleasure. In market research, a hedonic scale is most often used to assess a respondent’s pleasure, or satisfaction, with a product or service at an overall level.

Sensory Attributes

Sensory attributes, such as appearance, odor, flavor, taste, and texture of foods detectable by human senses, are often used to evaluate food. They can be used as measures of quality and of the desirability of food.

Some Context

The Avo No Bull Burger will be referred to as AVB for the rest of this blog. The Beyond Burger will be referred to as BB for the rest of this blog. A scale similar to a hedonic scale as depicted below will be used to score each sensory attribute. Appearance, texture, aroma, and taste were evaluated.

Finally, let me just stress that this is my opinion and I could be wrong.

(1 being the worst score and 5 being the best score)

First Impressions (Appearance)

From the time I was fully literate (which probably only happened like a year ago), I was taught not to judge a book by its cover (but Instagram/social media taught me otherwise and even gave me a platform to do so). As a food scientist, however, it’s part of my job to assess appearance.

As far as the AVB and the BB go, they both look like standard burgers. There’s nothing that makes either burger stand out from the other or from burgers in general. Then again, the appearance factor isn’t really a strong selling point for most burgers (with the exception of gourmet or personally crafted burgers).

Just a note on the AVB, the actual burger does not appear to be as tall as it is in its picture. Additionally, I would not let the appearance of the AVB patty deter you from eating the AVB.

So for appearance, both burgers received a score of 3.

He/She/Etc. Who Smelt It Dealt It (Aroma)

The AVB and BB patties as well as the overall burgers lacked a strong aroma. While there were occasional whiffs of fragrances of the other components that were a part of the burger, the individual aroma of the patties as well as the overall burger was weak and not distinct.

From a first-time expectation perspective of the AVB, I was not really surprised that the AVB patty had a weak aroma. The patty description reads as “black bean and mushroom”, which are not very strong aromas even when emanated from actual black beans or mushrooms.

From a first-time perspective of the BB I must admit that I was disappointed. The Beyond Burger patty is advertised to mimic the properties and experience of actual meat. For example, the fact that it “bleeds like meat” is emphasized.

This was probably the most disappointing aspect for both the AVB and the BB burgers (probably not as disappointing as the rest of this blog).

So for aroma, both burgers received a score of 2.

I Can’t Feel My Face When I’m With You (Texture/Mouthfeel)

For this sensory attribute, things get interesting. I’ll start by discussing the texture of the patties, then the other components, and finally the overall texture.

The texture for both patties differed slightly.

The AVB patty was firm and did not crumble easily the way some meat analogue patties do. The AVB patty was easily chewable, was not too tough, and went down the throat easily. Pretty standard stuff for a burger patty. Regarding the texture and mouthfeel of the other components, the pickled onions and rocket stood out (the rocket especially) as they were crunchy. The rocket also left this dry feel in your mouth that lasts a few hours after eating the AVB burger. The buns were pretty standard.

All in all, the individual patty and overall burger texture of the AVB was good.

The BB patty felt a bit firmer but also did not crumble easily. The BB patty was very chewy which meant longer pauses in between each bite. I would say the texture of the BB patty is what I imagine wet cardboard to be (I say imagine because believe it or not, I never ate cardboard/paper as a kid even tho that was the “in thing” back then). Regarding the texture and mouthfeel of the other components, the gherkins and vacon (vegan bacon) stood out (for different reasons ironically). While the gherkin had a pleasant crunchiness about it, the vacon felt tough and hard to chew on.

All in all, the overall texture of the BB was less than satisfactory.

The AVB gets a 4 for texture and the BB gets a 2 for texture/mouthfeel.

(Oooooooh damn famn, the stalemate is broken, this some Game of Thrones stuff right here, the downfall of the BB, or is it? Stay tuned for the next episode of DBZ to find out! Welcome to my overthinking mind).

Twitter Is My Flavour of Toxicity (Flavour/Taste)

This was were both patties and burgers differed.

The BB patty had a slight meaty beef flavour (boiled maybe?). This flavour was weak and faded really quickly. This taste factor combined with the cardboard texture worked unfavourably for the BB patty. Similar to the texture aspect for burger components, the gherkins and the vacon stood out. The gherkin provided that sharp vinegary spike and the vacon provided a pleasant bacon taste.

I want to make special mention of the vacon especially. It was the best thing about this burger overall. Since it was present within the burger as small pieces, I was willing to overlook its toughness in terms of chewability. In fact, I wouldn’t mind a burger that made use of a vacon patty (although I’d prefer the vacon patty to be less tough).

However, the overall taste of the burger didn’t feel amazing when you combined its patty flavour together with all of the flavours of the other components present. They just didn’t come together to provide a good experience.

The AVB patty had a subtle black bean flavour, I couldn’t really get much mushroom flavour to be honest. However, it was the other components of the burger that made it amazing.

The BBQ mayo sauce was the best thing about this burger, I kid you not. It had this pleasant smoked bacon flavour with a very subtle but welcome sweet aftertaste. This BBQ mayo went well with Avocado within the burger (an extra R10 but worth it). The pickled onion had a sweet but pleasant umami feel (or sweet, it was difficult to tell).

The individual patty was nothing special, but when combined with the other components (which is essentially what a burger is), it really came together. It tasted amazing.

I want to make an analogy using pizza toppings before I provide this score. The equivalent of the BB gherkins on a pizza would be pineapple. They taste great but are optional. The equivalent of the AVB BBQ mayo sauce would be the tomato base of the pizza. Tomato base is basically essential for pizza.

I’m trying to say that a sauce is essential for a burger while gherkins feel more like an option.

The AVB burger gets a score of 4 for flavour/taste. I would have given it a score of 5 had the patty tasted slightly better standalone. The BB burger gets a score of 3 (without the vacon, I’d give it a 2).

And Your Powerball (Messiness/Ease of Holding)

This was something that I only factored in when eating the AVB burger and wasn’t really something I really factored in until halfway through this blog. That being said…

The AVB burger felt easy to hold without its contents or the patty spilling all over the place. The BB burger on the other hand definitely had dreams of being the “Leaning tower of Pisa”. I had to keep on straightening that burger and its contents the way that Superman straightened that building. Also, its contents kept on falling out (the way sarcasm falls out of my mouth).

I don’t think I need to assign overall scores from this point on.

Pricing

I think the AVB is well worth the price, regardless of when purchased at the normal or the promotional price. I don’t think the BB is worth the price it’s sold for, even with the chips, cheese and vacon. At most I’d be willing to spend R 95 on that burger.

Overall Conclusion and Satisfaction

Overall, even without adding the scores, the AVB comes out on top with the deciding factors being taste/flavour (major significance) and texture. The components and elements of the AVB just come together unlike the BB. Expectation wise, the AVB comes across as very neutral while the BB has all of this hype surrounding it (the danger being that it may not live up to it).

So anyway, that was my Twitter WordPress rant on the matter, hope your eyes didn’t dry up while crying over how bad this blog was. Take care all of you, spread some love and may God bless you all.

Jai Sri Krishna

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rahul Golbahram says:

    Very well written out

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aavi Uchiha says:

      Thank you very much for your kind words and feedback

      Like

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