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Impossible Burger 2.0. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

LAS VEGAS — CES is known for marking the debut of high tech devices and trends, but in a rare event, a tech-powered food product is launching at the consumer electronics mega-conference.

Impossible Foods, maker of the plant-based vegan product that is designed to be indistinguishable from animal meat — both with how it tastes, and even how it bleeds — has updated its recipe for the first time since 2016, when the burgers first appeared. The company boasts that the “Impossible Burger 2.0” has as much iron and protein as a comparable serving of ground beef, while having zero cholesterol. Unlike the last iteration of Impossible Burger, the next generation is gluten free, as it is made from soy protein rather than the wheat protein in the previous recipe.

“Food is the most fundamental and ancient human technology,” said Impossible Foods Founder and CEO Dr.  Patrick Brown. “The food you have on your plate everyday is the product of thousands of years or research and exploration and discovery to figure out which parts of which plants and animals are safe to eat, delicious and nutritious and how best to process and prep those ingredients to make something delicious and healthy to eat.”

Today, Impossible Burger is available in more than 5,000 locations across the U.S., from upscale restaurants to fast food chains. Later this year, Impossible Foods will launch the plant-based creation in select grocery stores across the U.S. Brown said Impossible Burger will be priced within the range of ground beef options, but it likely won’t be on the low end.

The original recipe was meant for flat-top cooking at restaurants, but the company says the new recipe works with any kind of ground meat dish, from dumplings to lasagna to tacos. The Bill Gates-backed company has raised nearly $400 million.

An Impossible Burger empanada. (GeekWire Photo / Levy)

Brown called the rise of meat production and consumption that has come with rapid population growth a “rocket ship to environmental apocalypse.” Underscoring the point, when a Brazilian reporter pointed out the country’s famed steakhouses, Brown retorted that the country “used to be famous for the Amazon.”

Impossible Foods’ overall goal is “completely replacing animals in the food system,” according to Brown. However, beef is the first target because of its huge environmental footprint.

“Beef production is overwhelmingly the most environmentally destructive part of the animal agriculture system; it has by far the biggest land footprint,” Brown said.

GeekWire’s Tom Krazit gave the last iteration of the tech-fueled creation a try and came away impressed. I personally haven’t tried the last generation of the Impossible Burger, but I absolutely couldn’t tell the difference between an Impossible Burger slider and any other meat-based burger.

We also got our hands on some deliciously spicy and beef-like tacos and empanadas made with Impossible Beef. However, the deck was stacked in Impossible Foods’ favor as the food was prepared by award-winning chefs at Mandalay Bay’s Border Grill.

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