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Beyond Meat Sued Over Protein Content of Its Veggie Burgers

Beyond Burger frontSix Illinois consumers are suing Beyond Meat, one of the leading makers of plant-based burgers and other meat substitutes, alleging that the company overstates the amount of protein in most of their products. It goes on to assert that the “daily value” percentage (“DV”) representing how much protein the product contributes to meeting the government’s daily requirement for protein is grossly exaggerated.

For the product above, for example, the company claims each burger has 20 grams of protein and that represents 40% of an adult’s daily requirement.

Beyond Burger Nutrition Facts

The lawyers for the consumers say otherwise in their complaint because they had the products tested by a laboratory.


Plaintiffs’ counsel commissioned testing of Defendant’s Products, which show that the Products do not contain the amount of stated protein amount and/or protein DV [Daily Value] %. For example, Defendant’s Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground 16oz Patties, which is labeled as “20G Per Serving” and “40% DV” for protein, actually contains 19G Per Serving by nitrogen testing, and 7% DV for protein.

So the tests showed that there is slightly less protein, but how much the protein contributes to your daily requirement for protein is completely out of whack according to the lawyers. They say you are only getting 7% DV because of the quality of the pea protein used, not the 40% claimed. This is because, they contend, the company did not use the proper test to determine protein quality as required by federal regulations which factors in the digestibility and amino acid utilization of the protein being tested. For further reading, here is an article about pea protein vs. whey protein and how they are tested and compare. Contrary to what the lawyers claim, however, it says that pea protein concentrate rates pretty high generally.

The lawsuit concludes that Beyond Meat has misrepresented many of its products in violation of various federal and state consumer protection and other regulations.

For its part, Beyond Meat said “The allegations in the filing are unfounded and not representative of Beyond Meat’s products. We are prepared to vigorously fight this case.”

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11 thoughts on “Beyond Meat Sued Over Protein Content of Its Veggie Burgers”

  1. I’m afraid any comment that I leave on here is just going to sound anti-fake meat. I never really understood the point of trying to replicate meat with plants. Why not just make tasty vegetable stuff instead of trying to make eggplant bacon?

    As for protein, I’m not a scientist, so it would be hard for me to say for sure how these claims measure up. Reviewing your article on protein differences, it does seem that pea protein measures pretty well, in most categories to the recommended, but the lawsuit isn’t wrong that it pales in comparison to whey protein.

    I don’t think anyone is going to be satisfied by the end result of this lawsuit as it’s likely to come down to specific technicalities. Maybe the lawsuit wins and Beyond Meat has to change it’s packaging a bit and pay some money.

    • I concur! Vegetables, grains and legumes can be very tasty when prepared in countless ways properly instead of trying to imitate a meat product. When a vegetable product tries to replace a meat product, the results are usually blech.

  2. Advertising 40% of your daily protein intake in their non-meat-meat is surely a way to get more people to eat it, but I agree with Joel, above, who suggests inventing some other product that has an excellent taste. I have yet to sample the fake meat, am not enticed in any way, but might try something exotic in the vegetable realm for a hefty portion of protein.

    • Marjie… “healthy” might be too strong a word to use for my suggestion for anyone who wants to try a plant-based burger. Burger King’s Impossible Whopper is hard to distinguish from the real thing. And usually on Wednesday with a coupon/offer on their website, you can try one for $3.

  3. Beyond and Impossible burgers are in general not any healthier than real beef burger meat. Take a look at the saturated fat content for example. A lot of nutritionists warn that they are not necessarily a healthier meat replacement. The only reason for their existence is for vegans and vegetarians to enjoy the taste of meat without actually eating it. Otherwise there really isn’t much benefit to anyone else. All the hype about these products as a healthier alternative to meat is based on misinformation. And now we find out that the claims on the labels themselves are probably more misinformation. Even more reason not to eat them.

    • Although the jury is still out on the accuracy of the claims on the labels, I agree that Renée is essentially correct.

    • There are other considerations (beside health) when evaluating meat alternatives, specifically, differences in environmental impact. Not that I fully trust a purportedly independent report that’s funded by Beyond Meat, but even if it’s half true, there are potential huge wins for the environment (greenhouse gases, energy, water/land use) by avoiding beef. Link: https://www.treehugger.com/beyond-meats-veggie-burger-produces-fewer-greenhouse-gas-emissions-4856506

      So whether the label info is accurate or not, there are other factors to consider besides health, nutrition, and a desire to avoid slaughtering animals.

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