Plant-based burgers

Plant-based burgers

Plant-based burgers are becoming more available in Australian supermarkets and fast food chains. Read on to find out which burger options are out there, what are their ingredients and their nutritional breakdown.

Plant-based vs vegan

It is common to use the terms “plant-based” and “vegan” interchangeably. However, plant-based does not necessarily mean vegan. Instead, it means that is predominantly vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and other plant foods (you can argue here if this is to be determined by volume, weight or energy percentage). Vegan means no animal products whatsoever.

Having said that, most food products that are advertised as “plant-based” are actually vegan.

The interest in both terms has experienced a steady growth in the past several years. This is specially true for the past few months, as show in the Google Trends graph below.

Plant-based burgers in Australia

Harvest Gourmet

Harvest Gourmet is owned by Nestle. Their plant-based burgers are made with soy and wheat protein, meaning they are not gluten-free. They claim “everything we make is from ingredients you know”. I wonder how many people actually know methylcellulose and spirulina concentrate. Their Incredible Burger is available at Woolworths stores.

Next Gen2

These patties are soy-free, gluten-free and certified by Vegan Australia. They are available exclusively at Woolworths and retail for $8.00.

Quorn

Quorn is an Australian brand offering a variety of plant-based products made with mycoprotein, i.e. protein from a fungus. Their burgers are soy-free but do contain gluten. Some of their burgers are vegan, some contain milk protein.

The Alternative Meat Co.

This is another Australian company offering plant-based burgers, sausages and mince. They burgers do contain soy, wehat and gluten. Their products are available at Coles stores.

Unreal Co.

All their products are vegan, GMO-free and gluten-free. Some of their products do not contain onion and garlic.

Veef

These burgers and gluten-, preservative-, GMO and MSG-free. Apparently the burgers have been created by an award-winning chef (they don’t say who or which award he won). In their label, they specify they are proud of the ingredients they use, which include caramel colour 150a, canola oil and methylcellulose.

Beyond Meat

This is the only non-Australian company in the vegan burger market at the moment. This is perhaps also the most well-known brand because it the vegan patty of choice in many fast food chains. The company claims to manufacture “the world’s first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef”. Their patties are GMO-free, soy-free and gluten-free. Besides fast food restaurants, you can also find these at selected Coles and IGA shops.

Ingredients

  • Harvest Gourmet: Water, soy protein (18.5%), vegetable oils, wheat gluten, flavours, stabilizer (methylcellulose), vinegar, vegetable concentrates (beetroot, carrot, red capsicum), garlic, salt, malt extract (barley), black pepper, spirulina (concentrate)
  • Next Gen2 Plant Based Burger: Rehydrated pea textured protein, water, oils (coconut, vegetable), potato starch, thickeners (461,407), maltodextrin, plant fibre, pea protein, natural flavours (maize, onion), yeast extract, dehydrated vegetables (beetroot), burnt sugar (150a), salt, sunflower oil
  • Quorn Vegan Gourmet Burger: Water, vegetable oils, mycoprotein (10%), structured protein shred (wheat gluten, wheat starch, pea protein isolate), textured wheat protein (wheat protein, wheat flour), textured pea protein, flavouring, red beet juice, wheat gluten, stabiliser (461), potato protein, barley malt extract
  • Quorn Vegan Hot and Spicy Burgers: Mycoprotein (54%), wheat flour (calcium, iron, niacin & thiamine), sunflower oil, water, potato protein, pea fibre, wheat starch, wheat gluten, firming agents (calcium chloride, calcium acetate), natural flavours, kibbled chilli, parsley, salt, yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, tomato powder, spices (cayenne pepper, white pepper), stabilisers (carrageenan, sodium alginate), rice flour, spice extracts (black pepper, cayenne, ginger), colour (paprika extract), raising agent (ammonium carbonate)
  • The Alternative Meat Co. Burger: Water, vegetable protein (25%) (soy, wheat, pea), vegetable oil, stock powder, pea fibre, thickener (methyl cellulose), natural colours (beet, caramel i, paprika), natural flavours, salt, herbs and spices (pepper), vegetable extract
  • Unreal Co. Mighty Original: Water, protein [soy, rice, pea], fat [canola, coconut], starch [corn, tapioca, potato], nutritional yeast, chickpeas, flavours [salt, garlic, onion, paprika, oregano, cinnamon, parsley, pepper], fermented rice powder, maltodextrin, fibre [bamboo, methylcellulose], gums [xanthan, guar], colours [beet]
  • Unreal Co. Mighty Italian: Water, flavours [onion, salt, garlic, paprika, thyme, chives, oregano, cinnamon, parsley, pepper], protein [soy, rice, pea], fat [canola, coconut], starch [corn, tapioca, potato], nutritional yeast, chickpeas, fermented rice powder, maltodextrin, fibre [bamboo, methylcellulose], gums [xanthan, guar], colour [beet]
  • Unreal Co. Italian Beefy Burger: Water, protein [soy, rice, pea], herbs & spices 14% [onion, salt, garlic, paprika, thyme, chives, oregano, cinnamon, parsley, pepper], fat [canola, coconut], starch [corn, tapioca, potato], vegan egg replacer [maltodextrin, fibre [bamboo, methylcellulose], gums [xanthan, guar]], fermented rice powder, vegan beef flavour, colour [beet], citric acid, potassium sorbate
  • Unreal Co. Mighty Cheesy: Water, protein [soy, rice, pea], vegan cheese [water, coconut oil, modified potato starch, sea salt, modified tapioca starch, vegan flavour, sorbic acid, b-carotene], fat [canola, coconut], starch [corn, tapioca, potato], nutritional yeast, chickpeas, flavours [salt, garlic, onion, paprika, oregano, cinnamon, parsley, pepper, fermented rice powder, maltodextrin, fibre [bamboo, methylcellulose], gums [xanthan, guar], colours [beet]
  • Veef Plant Smoky BBQ Plant Based Burger Patties: Water, textured vegetable protein (25%) (defatted soy flour, caramel colour 150a), canola oil, cocoa butter, yeast extract, thickener (methylcellulose), smoked flavour, salt, stabiliser (guar gum) and spices
  • Beyond Meat Burgers: Water, pea protein, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavors, cocoa butter, mung bean protein, methylcellulose, potato starch, apple extract, pomegranate extract, salt, potassium chloride, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, sunflower lecithin, beet juice extract (for color)

Nutrient comparison

Nutrient Harvest Gourmet Incredible Burger
Per serve (113g)
NextGen2 Plant-Based Burgers
Per serve (112.5g)
Quorn Vegan Gourmet Burger
Per serve (113.5g)
Unreal Co. Mighty Original
Per serve (130g)
The Alternative Meat Co Burger
Per serve (110g)
Veef Smoky BBQ
Per serve (113g)
Beyond Burger
Per serve (113g)
Energy (kJ) 860 1190 1158 1052 1010 1120 1046
Protein (g) 19.2 14.2 23.3 13.5 20.0 15.9 20.0
Fat, total (g) 10.4 19.6 15.1 13.5 15.4 21.2 18.0
– Saturated (g) 4.5 12.3 3.2 5.2 4.1 4.3 6.0
Carbohydrate, total (g) 6.2 11.9 10.1 19.3 43.0 13.9 3.0
– Sugars (g) 1.2 < 1.0g 4.3 2.8 1.2 2.2 0.0
Sodium (mg) 465 371 511 168 640 334 390
Fibre (g) 5.7 N/A 3.6 3.9 4.2 N/A 2.0
Health Star Rating 4 N/A 4 4 N/A N/A N/A

Pricing

Below are the recent retail prices for some of these burgers in Coles and Woolworths.

Product Serves per pack Coles Woolworths
The Beyond Burger Plant Based Burger Patties 2 $10.60 N/A
The Alternative Meat Co. Plant Based Burger 2 $7.50 N/A
Quorn Vegan Gourmet Burger 2 $7.00 N/A
Quorn Frozen Vegan Hot & Spicy Burgers 4 $7.00 N/A
Next Gen2 Plant Based Burger 4 N/A $8.00
Veef Plant Based Burger Patties 2 N/A $6.50
Harvest Gourmet Incredible Burger 2 N/A $12.00

Should you eat plant-based burgers?

It’s super important to remember that no matter how many health claims a label has, it doesn’t mean the product is a healthy food. Most of these burgers have been highly processed to make them look and feel like real burgers. Just by reading the ingredients list I don’t feel inclined to eat any of them.

I’m not suggesting you should never eat one of these burgers, but don’t make them a staple in your diet. Instead, choose bean/legume patties made with few wholefoods ingredients.

Additionally, if you care about sustainability think about how much processing, packaging and transport was involved in getting the product to your plate. In this sense, it might be better to choose Australian brands that source all their ingredients locally.

More information

If you’d like to know more about the burgers mentioned in this article, please visit the following websites:

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