Before reading the article:
Do you like hamburgers? If yes, what is your favorite kind? Do you prefer rare, medium or well-done? With a bun, ketchup or cheese?
If you love burgers, you are not alone. Americans consume approximately 50 billion burgers a year, and the average American eats three hamburgers a week.
If you lined up all those burgers up side by side — the line would go around the world 32 times!
However, hamburgers have many health, environmental and ethical costs. Burgers are high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fat and the production of meat for hamburgers is one of the biggest single contributors to climate change. Further, critics argue that the treatment of animals on factory farms is inhumane, and, for some people, eating animals is unethical.
This month, Burger King rolled out a version of the Whopper with a vegetarian patty. Will it change the future of how Americans eat burgers?
Now, read the article, “Behold the Beefless ‘Impossible Whopper’,” and answer the following questions:
1. What is the Impossible Whopper? What makes it so impossible? How does it “validate” a “young industry that is looking to mimic and replace meat with plant-based alternatives?”
2. What is Impossible Foods? Who started the company and why?
3. What is the secret to the Impossible Whopper’s taste? How have Impossible Foods tried to mimic the look and taste of beef hamburgers? You have 4 free articles remaining.
4. What criticism has the Impossible Foods company faced? In your view, has the criticism been fair?
5. How does the production of meat contribute to climate change? What is the impact of the Impossible Whopper in comparison?
6. How does the Burger King version of the Impossible Burger compare nutritionally to the traditional whopper?
Finally, tell us more about what you think:
— What is your reaction to the article? How successful do you think the Impossible Whopper will be? Could plant-based burgers ever replace beef ones?
— Have you ever had a Whopper? How would you rate it against burgers from other restaurants or fast-food chains? Have you ever tried a veggie burger? How would you compare the taste to a beef burger? Would you try the Impossible Whopper?
— In a related article, “No One Is Taking Your Hamburgers. But Would It Even Be a Good Idea?”, Kendra Pierre-Louis writes about the dangers of the production and consumption of beef in America:
In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, the food system has environmental challenges, like overtaxed agricultural lands; the dead zones that form each year in the Gulf of Mexico, fueled by nutrient runoff from Midwestern fields growing animal feed; and the pollution associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, or so-called factory farms.
Consuming lots of meat is also making people in the United States and other affluent nations unwell, according to a recent report on sustainable diets in the medical journal The Lancet. People in the United States would be better off eating much less red meat, the report said, while those in undernourished parts of the world, like South Asia, would benefit from eating more.
The World Cancer Research Fund has said that limiting red meat to 3.5 ounces — a little less than a quarter-pound burger — no more than three times a week reduces cancer risk. Going lower than that, sticking to one 3.5-ounce serving of red meat a week, reduced related greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half, the Lancet report said.
Have you ever considered the ethical dimensions of eating hamburgers, or meat in general? Which of the concerns cited by Ms. Pierre-Louis are most significant and why? Should Americans cut down on or eliminate their consumption of hamburgers?
— Are you, or is anyone you know, a vegetarian? If yes, what are the benefits and challenges of being a vegetarian? If you eat meat, does this article persuade you to consider becoming a vegetarian or persuade you to consume more vegetarian alternatives to meat?