Why is Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat classified as ultra processed food?

Why is Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat classified as ultra processed food?

Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat are considered to be ultra-processed foods because they are made using a variety of highly processed ingredients. [3]

Both Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat are plant-based meat alternatives that are designed to taste and have a texture similar to meat. To achieve this, they use a combination of plant-based ingredients that have been heavily processed to create a final product that resembles meat. [1, 2]

For example, the primary ingredient in Beyond Meat's products is pea protein isolate, which is a highly processed form of protein extracted from yellow split peas. Other ingredients in Beyond Meat products include vegetable oils, starches, and various gums and stabilizers, which are added to create the desired texture and mouthfeel. [1]

Similarly, Impossible Meat products are made with a combination of soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, and various other processed ingredients such as methylcellulose, which is a thickener commonly used in processed foods. [2]

While these ultra-processed ingredients are generally recognized as safe for human consumption by regulatory bodies such as the FDA, some health experts have raised concerns about the potential health effects of consuming heavily processed foods on a regular basis. Some studies have suggested that a diet high in ultra-processed foods may be associated with an increased risk of certain health problems, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed to fully understand the health effects of consuming these types of foods. [3, 4]


  1. "Beyond Meat: The Future of Protein?" by Harvard Business School Online (2019). Available at https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/beyond-meat-the-future-of-protein
  2. "Impossible Foods: Ingredients" by Impossible Foods. Available at https://impossiblefoods.com/food/
  3. "Ultra-Processed Foods and Health Outcomes: A Narrative Review" by Carlos Augusto Monteiro, Geoffrey Cannon, and Jean-Claude Moubarac in BMJ (2019). Available at https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l2289
  4. "Are plant-based meat substitutes really healthier than meat?" by Harvard Health Publishing (2021). Available at https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/are-plant-based-meat-substitutes-really-healthier-than-meat-2021041522004

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