(Updated February 6, 2020) | Trader Joe’s just launched its own vegan meat burgers. Called Protein Patties, they look and cook like the popular plant-based Beyond Burger.
Rumors of the new burgers first emerged last September in the now-defunct Facebook group Vegan Trader Joe’s. The product became available in stores late last month.
According to the packaging, pea protein, sunflower oil, and beets are the primary ingredients.
Like the Beyond Burger, the Protein Patties are pink when uncooked, but sear and brown up on the outside when cooked in a skillet. Pea protein is also the primary ingredient in the Beyond Burger. Each patty contains 18 grams of protein compared to 20 grams for the Beyond Burger. A two-pack retails for $4.49.
The Rising Popularity of Vegan Meat
Trader Joe’s isn’t alone in creating its own vegan meat. Kroger—the largest supermarket in the U.S.—has launched a private label vegan meat range. Called Simple Truth Emerge, the range includes vegan burgers, sausages, mince, and ham.
“It’s a defining moment when America’s largest grocer launches an entire collection of plant-based meat and dairy products,” said Bruce Friedrich, the founder and CEO of the Good Food Institute (GFI), in a statement. GFI is a nonprofit that promotes the consumption of animal-free foods, as well as the development of lab-grown meat.
Friedrich continued, “[It] is clear proof that plant-based has truly gone mainstream. We look forward to other grocers following Kroger’s lead.”
Supermarket chains are listening to consumer demand for more ethical, environmentally-friendly products. According to a recent study, 80 percent of Americans want to swap at least some of the meat in their diet for vegan food.
Burgers, in particular, are in high demand. Research from NPD Group revealed that meat-eaters ate 216 million vegan burgers in the first 7 months of 2019.
“Plant-based burgers allow consumers to substitute without sacrifice,” said Darren Seifer—an NPD food and beverage industry analyst—in a statement. “They get the ‘burger’ experience while assuaging their need for more protein and social concerns. U.S. consumers have not given up on beef burgers, but are willing to mix things up every now and then.”