A popular fast-food reviewer on YouTube has tried the Impossible Whopper - and says he will buy it again.
Report of the Week (ROTW) - also known by fans as 'Reviewbrah' - has more than 1,500,000 YouTube subscribers as well as a following for his shortwave radio show. He is revered among his fanbase for always dressing in vintage 90s suits and his often slightly old-fashioned manner of speaking.
The sandwich he reviewed in the video features Impossible Foods' plant-based patty on a build that mirrors the chain's standard beef-based option, with tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, pickles, and sliced white onions on sesame seed bun. Removing the mayo makes the option free-from animal products. It rolled out nationwide today and will be available until September.
Before trying the sandwich, ROTW had to carefully deconstruct the layers, fearing that restaurant staff may have spit in it as they were angry when he placed his order. After concluding that his Impossible Whopper was spit-free, he tasted it.
"I'm pleasantly surprised, to be honest," he said after sampling the sandwich. "I think it's actually pretty good for what it is. It's a little mindboggling that they are able to take this patty of organic, plant-based material, and make it literally look like a beef patty."
The look of the patty intially made the foodie wonder whether he had in fact been served a traditional flame-grilled Whopper, but he concluded that this wasn't the case after eating it.
"You are not going to get the two mixed up," he said. "The flame-grilled Whopper has a much different taste. This has a flavor all of its own, and I know that's sometimes very difficult when it comes down to explanation. The best way I can put it, is that it seems to me that it's a little drier than the beef patties.
"Taste-wise though, it's a very neutral flavor. I would say it has this rich, organic flavor to it. That's the best way to describe it. Again, it's very neutral, it has a little bit of a chewiness to it, a texture to it also.
"For what the point of this item was, I think they did a darn good job with it. I gotta tell you the truth, despite the bad customer experience...and the nightmares that I'm sure will follow having tried to obtain this, I think they did a good job...I will definitely order it again and I have to give Burger King credit."
He rated the sandwich 8.2 out of 10.
During his review, ROTW pointed out that the patty is cooked on the same broiler as beef and chicken items, and to avoid cross-contamination, diners should request it is cooked separately.
This issue has made headlines in recent days, with opinion split over whether cross-contamination means the options isn't suitable for vegetarians or plant-based diners.
Ashley Byrne, a campaign director for PETA, saying: "It's really not about the personal purity of what the products are being cooked next to. People are choosing vegan options because they care about animals and the environment. We think that these benefits really override any concerns about cross-contamination."
Plant-based not vegan
While many in the food industry are encouraged by the Impossible Whopper's success, it's important to note that many vegans - and Impossible Foods itself consider the patty to be plant-based rather than vegan.
This is because in 2017, it was revealed that a key ingredient - soy leghemoglobin aka 'heme' - from the brand's flagship item the Impossible Burger was fed to rats in order to test its safety. In excess of 180 rats were killed as a result of the testing.
CEO Pat Brown reacted to the controversy, publishing a statement titled The Agonizing Dilemma of Animal Testing. Brown, who has been vegan for more than 15 years, said the core of his company's mission is to 'eliminate exploitation of animals in the food system', as well as reduce the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.
"Among the thousands of animal species surveyed every decade by the World Wildlife Fund, the total number of living individual wild animals today is less than half what it was 40 years ago," he added."This wildlife loss is overwhelmingly due to the exploitation of animals for food, including hunting, fishing and especially the replacement of wildlife habitat by animal farming."