Impossible Foods, a leading “alternative meat producer”, unvieled on Monday the world’s first meat-free pork substitute at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.
The firm behind the Impossible Burger offered samples of the pork product at the trade event.
Made from soy protein, and enriched with sunflower and coconut oil, it is designed to be sustainable, while still having the appearance, taste and texture of ground pork.
The pre-seasoned product can be used in any recipe or dish that calls for the meat.
While it has been designed to meet kosher and halal dietary laws, it has not yet received official certification, according to the Californian company’s CEO and founder Pat Brown.
Abrar Al-Heeti, a Muslim journalist, who tried a Vietnamese sandwich made with the meat subsitute described the experience in an article for CNET.
“‘This feels so wrong,’ I think as I lift the sandwich to my mouth. My hands are shaking and doubt starts to creep in. I fight off the hesitation and take a bite,” he said.
“‘It has a chewy consistency and a flavor similar to that of chicken, albeit with a bit of a more savory, smoky essence.'”
“‘So this is what pork tastes like,” I think. I put the sandwich down after a couple of bites and call it a day. “I think I’ve done enough damage.'”
In the same article, Al-Heeti spoke to Mustafa Umar, an imam based in California, said that he won’t be trying the pork alternative.
“I grew up with a dislike for pork, and that’s something I’m actually proud of, and if people come and ask me, ‘What do you think? Should I try?’ I would say no. Don’t do it unless you’ve already been eating pork and you’re trying to quit.”
Responses from Muslims on social media were polarised.
Impossible Foods debuted the Impossible Burger in 2016, re-launching the flagship vegan-friendly product at the CES in 2019, after adjusting the texture from the first burger patty.
The new pork product created by the startup was created as part of plans to expand in Asian markets, where African Swine Fever has cut pork supply in recent years.