Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review of Beyond Meat @ Tropical Smoothie Cafe

I was curious to try the new "Beyond Meat" product at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. I'd had it a couple of times other places but it was always super bland and not that good. These looked better, but I was curious what non-vegetarians would think. Often I think fake meat is not that realistic, while other veg*ns think it's just like the real thing.

So I bought several sandwiches (Thai peanut, Jamaican jerk, and buffalo) for myself and 6 of my colleagues and we had a taste test. Here's the pile of sandwiches before opening:
Beyond meat sandwiches at tropical smoothie cafe

The ratings for "overall quality / deliciousness of the sandwich" on a scale of 1 to 100 came out at a mean of 80.8 (ranging from 70 - 90). The ratings for "chickenness" of the beyond meat (as compared to a similar sandwich from Cosi or something) had a mean of 79.4 (68-90). One participant noted that it wouldn't pass for a good roast chicken, but was virtually identical to the generic chicken you get in other sandwich shops.

Here are the tasting notes / reviews (I was #7):

  1. Tasty but I'd be interested to know more about it (nutritional info, environmental footprint, ingredients, etc).
  2. I found the texture to be fairly convincing. I only tried the chicken and not the sandwich so I'll   give it a 50.
  3. The buffalo "chicken" sandwich was great. I would likely order it in the future, especially because I love buffalo chicken sandwiches but the chicken skeeves me out at most places that serve them.
  4. Great taste, with firm texture (sightly more so than real chicken, with much less fat). 
  5. That's a good sandwich!  I was surprised a how chicken-like the beyond meat was, they almost nailed the texture!
  6. I like how the consistency is very consistent - no weird tendon parts or fat. The flavor is just as good if not slightly better than actual chicken. Curious how the stuff is made, shipped, prepped at the shop, and how it might hold a marinade
  7. The texture is less smooth / shiny than chicken, and the fibers don't align as well. However, the flavor is pretty similar, and once you're chewing it the texture is reasonably similar to real chicken as well. The sauces on the Jerk and Thai sandwiches were great, the "buffalo" was just hot sauce. The overall experience was crazy salty, I was chugging water all afternoon.