Are Veggie Burgers Getting Too Meat-Like?

What exactly is a veggie burger? Food Network defines it as a burger without meat that's made with plant-based foods such as vegetables, soy, beans, or grains. These burgers are versatile and can often change with the seasons. For example, during the summer, people might use bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplants, while kale, spinach, and carrots are usually reserved for winter. However, the majority of veggie burgers end up in kitchen freezers, so seasonal vegetables might not be that big of a factor. 

Although many people think that vegetarians or vegans form the majority of plant-based burger eaters, NBC News reports that almost 90% of people who enjoy non-meat burgers are, in fact, not vegan or vegetarian — these people just prefer having more options in their diet. In recent years, we have witnessed the sharp rise of fake meat products and meat alternative companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods (per Vox). But sometimes, we just want a regular veggie burger, not fake meat, and there have been some concerns that veggie burgers are getting too meat-like. Is that really the case?

Backlash against fake meat

Plant-based meat companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods replicate the taste and texture of meat without using actual meat. As a result, these meatless burgers have been popping up all over the country, even in fast food restaurants such as Carl's Jr., Burger King, and McDonald's. Some restaurants offer fake meat burgers as their only plant-based option, with no actual veggie burgers on the menu. Logically, if you're a vegan and want to taste the veggies in your burger, you probably wouldn't opt for the taste of actual meat. 

This may be what's leading to the backlash against fake meat. The Washington Post claims that some reasons for the backlash are high prices, murky health benefits, too many competitors, and "lack of versatility." If you're having a hard time finding a good veggie burger, the best option could be making it in your own kitchen. 

The Los Angeles Times recommends using only beans, mushrooms, soy sauce, seasonings, and breadcrumbs for the veggie patty. Once griddled, the veggie patty is topped with vegan cheese and condiments and placed into a burger bun — you'll have all the flavors and healthy ingredients without the meaty textures and aromas. On top of that, it won't cost you a fortune. What's not to like?