The Truth About Burger King's Impossible Whopper

Burger King introduced the Impossible Whopper in August of 2019 (via The Verge). According to CNET, the chain's collaboration with Impossible Foods was met with a lot of praise from enthusiasts and skepticism from critics. The Impossible burger promised to satisfy diners without making them miss the meat found in traditional Whoppers

So what exactly is the Impossible Whopper? Well, it's simply the vegetarian counterpart of the original Burger King Whopper sandwich. This veg-friendly burger is comprised of a unique patty made using an ingredient referred to as soy leghemoglobin, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, pickles, ketchup, onions, and a bun. The Impossible Foods website explains what soy leghemoglobin is, saying "Soy leghemoglobin is short for legume hemoglobin — the hemoglobin found in soy, a leguminous plant. Leghemoglobin is a protein found in plants that carries heme, an iron-containing molecule that is essential for life... Although heme has been consumed every day for hundreds of thousands of years, Impossible Foods discovered that it's what makes meat taste so meaty." So basically, the reason the Impossible Whopper patty is able to taste so much like the original meaty burger is because of plant-based leghemoglobin. However, vegetarian fans of Burger King shouldn't get too excited, there is unfortunately a catch.

The Impossible Whopper isn't the best option for plant eaters

As explained by Fox News, Burger King's Impossible Whoppers are cooked in the same broilers as their meat counterparts, making cross-contamination incredibly likely. As a customer, you'd have to specifically state that you would prefer a different preparation tool to be used for your plant-based patty, such as the kitchen oven. However, the chain describes the space as an "open kitchen environment" and stresses that there is no way to guarantee that there will be zero cross-contamination.  

Over on the Reddit message board r/fastfood, users discussed the fact that Impossible Whoppers are not fully okay for vegetarians to eat in detail. One poster wrote, "Nearly all vegetarian items come with this asterisk. French fries are fried in the same oil as chicken, veggie pizza is cut with the same cutters as pepperoni pizza. In some cases you can request them to prepare it differently... But even then there's a chance they don't remember or don't care," adding that it is close to impossible to be sure that the food served will be totally vegetarian. In fact, a disclaimer on the Impossible Foods Burger King product page even states, "Patty cooked in the same oil as meat and cheese products," so it appears this information is spot on when it comes to the Impossible Whopper.