After expanding distribution sevenfold, the "bleeding," plant-based Beyond Burger is aiming even higher.

Beyond Meat Burger
Credit: © Beyond Meat

Red meat-craving vegetarians rejoice—Beyond Meat's acclaimed, plant-based Beyond Burger is about to get a whole lot easier to find. The company will be partnering with Sysco, North America's largest food distributor, to increase the meatless burger's distribution sevenfold.

The Beyond Burger, which "bleeds" like a real burger, was launched last year at Whole Foods, where it sold out in less than an hour. Meat-, gluten-, and- soy-free, Beyond Meat bets the Beyond Burger is so close in taste and texture to beef that it managed to get grocery stores to sell them in their meat sections.

The new expansion will see the Beyond Burger expand its reach from over 3,500 stores, restaurants, and food service establishment, the company said in press release, to potentially tens of thousands more. Targeting "burger joints, restaurant chains, hospitality properties, healthcare centers and educational facilities nationwide," it's part of a push to make the Beyond Burger a standard part of restaurant menus around the country.

While the mainstreaming of meatless meals and diets may seem far off for Americans, the companies cite an NPD study showing that 70% of meat eaters are subbing a non-meat protein at least once a week, with 22% saying they're doing it more often than they did the year before. At 20 grams of protein per patty, the Beyond Burger seems to meet the health needs many say drive their decision to reduce meat, but the similarities to meat go further than its nutritional elements.

It's not just that taste and texture either—the experience of cooking the Beyond Burger is just about the same as cooking meat. Drop it on the grill or a hot pan, and watch the juices flow while a classic burger crust forms. The "bleeding" effect is there too, only, instead of animal blood, it's the surpisingly similar looking beet juice. Considering how much the the reduction of meat consumption is a key environmental concern, it could be the reddest way to go green yet.