The fake meat at Sublime, the upscale vegan eatery in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter) There’s nothing like the first great bite of a wonderful burger, the lettuce crisp and ripe in your mouth, the bun pressed hard against your upper lip, the texture chewy but not too soft and the burger itself, a thick and juicy sensory smorgasbord. Well, that’s how it should be, but the McDonald’s generation has become used to expecting less than top-notch burger experiences. The limp patty, flabby bun, and squeezy cheese rarely live up to those glistening commercials where everything is perfectly arranged in a clever marketing ploy to start those salivary glands going even as you head tells you it’s a con. But no longer. Let’s celebrate the end of those sad little sandwiches and enter the era of epicurean burger bliss. Over the last decade, a number of companies have been heavily investing in the burger space. But they’re not quite the people you’d expect. I’m talking Silicon Valley venture capitalists, meat moguls, and Bill Gates. The burgers they’re focused on are of the plant-based variety. Yes, I said meat moguls too. “People want protein, so whether it’s animal-based protein or plant-based protein, they have an appetite for it. Plant-based protein is growing almost, at this point, a little faster than animal-based, so I think the migration may continue in that direction,” Tom Hayes, the CEO of Tyson Foods told Fox Business. In 2016, Tyson took a 5% share of Beyond Meat (the startup has raised $55 million so far) and other meat companies have been making inquiries into this space. There’s profit to be made in being first with the best new burger; a recent report suggested the alternative protein market could reach $5.2 billion by 2020. There’s a wide range of companies investing in the future of meat alternatives, including Akua’s kelp-based jerky, Terramino’s plant-based salmon burgers and Impossible Foods Impossible burger. “In Silicon Valley and other venture capital communities there’s strong interest from investors in meat replacement products,” said Ricardo San Martin, research director at the UC Berkeley Alternative Meat Lab, which opened in 2017. Here’s who should be on your radar. Hero Product: Plant-based chicken nuggets Money Raised: $1 million MORE FROM FORBES Why you should know about them: This company is part of Y Combinator’s 2018 summer class. They’re looking to get a slice of the growing plant-based meat market, and their first products are chicken nuggets made from textured wheat, oil, chicken flavoring, cornstarch, and corn breading. When can you try this: TBD. A salmon makes its way upstream on the River Tyne in Heaxham, Northumberland. (Owen Humphreys/PA Images/Getty Images) Hero Product: Plant-based salmon burger Money raised: $4.25 million Why you should know about them: The company got their start when founder and Thiel fellow Kimberlie Le received $100,000 from Peter Thiel. Le’s created a way to synthesize fungi into edible seafood mimicking products and the salmon burger will be the first of […]
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Video TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - One Tampa Bay woman’s love for fresh buds inspired her to start a blossoming business. Now, she can stop...