retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times the other day had a story that reported on a blind taste test conducted by three Times columnists (and two of their kids) of six different veggie burgers currently on the market.

"Each burger was seared with a teaspoon of canola oil in a hot skillet, and served in a potato bun," the story said. "We first tasted them plain, then loaded with our favorites among the classic toppings: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles and American cheese."

The Impossible Burger got the top ranking of four and a half stars, largely because it seemed to be the one that tasted most like a beef burger; the Beyond Burger came in number two with four stars.

Ranked at the bottom was the Sweet Earth Fresh Veggie Burger, with just two stars … but it wasn't like the writers hated it; one said it was "the burger for people who love falafel," which isn't exactly a slam in my book.

To be honest, I haven't rushed out to join the veggie burger movement, but the Times piece is kind of persuasive … it made me think that I ought to be more open minded and try some different versions on my own grill. To this point, my experience with veggie burgers eaten at restaurants has been pretty uniform - good restaurants that serve tasty food tend to make veggie burgers that are really good, while places like White Castle are no better at making veggie burgers than they are at making regular burgers.

But maybe the next time I make burgers, I'll throw some veggie burgers into the mix and hope for an Eye-Opening experience. But I'm going to make sure I have the right accompaniments. You know. Lettuce. Tomato. Heinz 57. French fried potatoes. Big kosher pickle. And a cold draft beer.

All of which would make everything taste better.
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