There’s a lot of buzz right now in the heart of Harvard Square over the recent release of Clover Food Lab’s new meatless meatball sandwich. Yes, you read that right — a meatball sub…without any meat. How is that possible, you might ask. Well, it’s all in the science.
To produce this meatless wonder, Clover partnered with Silicon Valley food tech startup Impossible Foods. The fake meat is engineered in a lab by combining textured wheat protein, coconut oil, and potato protein, plus Impossible Lab’s “secret sauce” soy leghemoglobin, which gives the fake meat it’s medium-rare consistency (yes, it bleeds).
According to a note posted by Clover’s founder, who’s a Harvard/MIT alum, the goal for Clover “is to help meat lovers become vegetable lovers. We do that through working with farmers to get you the most delicious vegetables. Like most of what we’re doing at Clover we’re cutting a new path… But I think this could be amazing, for us, for you, for Impossible, for the planet. So we’re diving in.”
Being a skeptical fat guy who loves his meat, I decided to travel down the road to Harvard Square, the only location that is currently selling this wonder burger.
Here’s my quick take:
As advertised. Definitely looks like meat. The whole sandwich is expertly wrapped, which is a nice touch.
Actually quite delicious. The closest analogy I can think of is a high quality Subway Meatball Sub, which ain’t half bad. The ‘fake’ meatballs themselves tasted almost identical to a ground beef meatball. Really enjoyable.
How is this not meat!? The texture is nearly perfect with a fibrous, tissue-like consistency. This would easily pass as real meat in a blind taste test.
This was a fantastic experience, and I’m sold on the future of lab-generated meats. This really opens up the market for vegetarians and religious-types to enjoy broader menu options. The only real downside is the current price tag (this sandwich cost nearly $14), but I’d imagine that we will see it come down as the technology to produce the fake meat improves.
If you’re in the area, I’d definitely recommend dropping by Clover Food Labs at Harvard Square to try this new sub.