Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground vs Beef: Nutritional Comparison

Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground is a product designed as a vegan-friendly alternative to ground beef.

However, there are a lot of claims about this product—both positive and negative—and about how it compares to regular beef.

This article offers an objective, data-driven nutritional comparison of Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground and regular ground beef.

How do they compare?

Cooked Ground Beef In a Bowl.

What Is Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground?

Before we start the nutritional comparison, let’s first examine what Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground is.

Firstly, ‘Beyond Beef’ is a product line of Beyond Meat, a company that produces alternative meat-like products made from plant ingredients. These products aim to closely replicate the taste of animal-based foods with plant-based protein.

Beyond Meat is a large United States-based public company headquartered in Los Angeles, California (1).

The company claims that “our brand promise is to enable customers to eat what you love” while providing meat alternatives that don’t require the use of animals (2).

Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground is designed to mimic ground beef’s taste and texture characteristics. It is known by different names in some international markets. For instance, it is known as ‘Beyond Mince’ in the United Kingdom (3).

Key Point: Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground is a plant-based food product designed to emulate the taste of ground beef.

Ingredients Profile: Beyond Beef vs. Ground Beef

Before we look at the complete nutritional properties of Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground and ground beef, let’s first examine their ingredients.

Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground

Here is the full ingredients list of Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground (4):

  • Water
  • Pea protein
  • Expeller-pressed canola oil
  • Refined coconut oil
  • Rice protein
  • Natural flavors
  • Dried yeast
  • Cocoa butter
  • Methylcellulose
  • Potato starch
  • Salt
  • Potassium chloride
  • Beet powder color
  • Apple extract
  • Pomegranate concentrate
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice concentrate
  • Zinc sulfate
  • Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)
  • Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)
  • Calcium pantothenate

Among these ingredients, Beyond Beef’s protein content comes from its provision of pea protein and rice protein.

The product aims to replicate the fat content of ground beef using a combination of canola oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. In this regard, canola oil is primarily a source of monounsaturated fat, whereas coconut oil and cocoa butter are higher in saturated fat.

The various colorings and flavorings help emulate ground beef’s taste and appearance.

Additionally, methylcellulose (a type of fiber) and sunflower lecithin are included for their texture-thickening and emulsifying properties.

Lastly, the product has been fortified with some key (B vitamins and zinc) nutrients in regular ground beef.

Ground Beef

Regular ground beef has just one ingredient: ground beef.

However, this may contain different cuts of beef and trimmings with high-fat content, depending on the specific product.

Key Point: Ground beef is made from regular cuts of beef, whereas Beyond Beef uses a wide variety of ingredients to emulate the taste, texture, appearance, and nutritional properties of beef.

Nutrition Comparison: Beyond Beef vs. Ground Beef

The following tables show a complete nutritional comparison of Beyond Beef and regular ground beef.

Since Beyond Beef is approximately 16% fat by weight (84% lean), 85% lean ground beef will be used for the comparison. This is the closest ground beef product to Beyond Beef nutritionally, so it is the fairest comparison.

Note: leaner beef products with a lower fat content would provide more protein, vitamins, and minerals than 85% lean beef. Beef products with a higher fat content would have lower protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Nutritional data is based on per 100 grams raw ‘as sold’ weight. The source of nutritional data is the USDA’s FoodData Central database for 85% lean ground beef and the NCC Food and Nutrient Database for Beyond Beef (5, 6).

Daily values (% DV) are based on a 2000-calorie diet and have been calculated using the FDA’s published daily values (7).

NameBeyond Beef% DVGround Beef % DV
Calories217 kcal215 kcal
Carbohydrates3.50 g1%0 g 0%
Fiber1.78 g 6%0 g 0%
Sugars0.15 g0 g
Fat 16.20 g 21%15.0 g 19%
Saturated5.44 g 27%5.72 g29%
Monounsaturated7.15 g6.47 g
Polyunsaturated2.95 g0.43 g
Omega-30.85 g0.06 g
Omega-62.06 g0.34 g
Protein17.94 g 36%18.59 g37%
Cholesterol0 mg0%68.0 mg23%
Table 1: Basic nutritional comparison: Beyond Beef vs. ground beef (85% lean) per 100g raw

As Table 1 shows, Beyond Beef has a slightly higher carbohydrate, fiber, and polyunsaturated fat content than beef.

In contrast, 85% lean ground beef has a slightly higher protein and cholesterol content.

Beyond Beef’s total fat and saturated fat content is very similar to 85% lean ground beef.

Vitamin Composition

Vitamin NameBeyond Beef% DVGround Beef % DV
Choline22.95 mg4%61.20 mg11%
Folate5.64 mcg1%6.0 mcg2%
Vitamin A, RAE3.36 mcg<1%4.0 mcg<1%
Vitamin B1 (thiamin)0.01 mg<1%0.04 mg3%
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)0.01 mg<1%0.15 mg12%
Vitamin B3 (niacin)0.02 mg<1%4.65 mg29%
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)0.02 mg<1%0.55 mg11%
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)0.01 mg<1%0.35 mg21%
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)2.8 mcg117%2.17 mcg90%
Vitamin C0.04 mg<1%0 mg0%
Vitamin D0 mcg0%0.07 mcg<1%
Vitamin E1.66 mg11%0.17 mg1%
Vitamin K13.77 mcg11%1.30 mcg1%
Table 2: vitamin composition comparison: Beyond Beef vs. ground beef (85% lean) per 100g raw

As shown in Table 2, Beyond Beef plant-based ground provides more vitamin B12, vitamin E, and vitamin K than ground beef. The vitamin B12 content comes from Beyond Beef being fortified with cyanocobalamin.

In contrast, 85% ground beef has more choline, folate, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 than Beyond Beef.

Mineral Composition

Mineral NameBeyond Beef% DVGround Beef % DV
Calcium70.80 mg5%15.0 mg1%
Copper0.23 mg26%0.07 mg8%
Iron3.98 mg22%2.09 mg11%
Magnesium32.09 mg8%18.0 mg4%
Manganese0.38 mg17%<0.01 mg<1%
Phosphorus150.29 mg12%171.0 mg14%
Potassium266.09 mg6%295.0 mg6%
Selenium0.51 mcg1%15.80 mcg29%
Sodium345.29 mg15%66.0 mg3%
Zinc0.58 mg5%4.48 mg41%
Table 3: mineral composition comparison: Beyond Beef vs. ground beef (85% lean) per 100g raw

Table 3 shows that Beyond Beef has higher calcium, copper, iron, manganese, and sodium content than ground beef.

On the other hand, ground beef provides higher levels of phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Other Nutrients

Additionally, it is worth pointing out that ground beef contains several other nutrients not present in Beyond Beef or other plant-based products like the Awesome Burger.

These nutrients include anserine, carnosine, creatine, taurine, and 4-hydroxyproline, each of which may benefit human health (8).

To learn more about these nutrients, here are some helpful links:

Among these nutrients, creatine is arguably the most well-researched and potentially benefits athletic performance and cognitive health (9, 10).

However, it is challenging to consume the dose (approximately 5 grams per day) that most commonly shows benefits in research from meat alone. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, a pound (454g) of uncooked beef contains around 1-2 grams of creatine (11).

For this reason, many people choose to supplement with creatine. This could be a beneficial choice regardless of whether one follows an omnivore or vegan diet.

Key Point: Ground beef and Beyond beef have similar protein and fat content. However, there are more varied differences in their vitamin and mineral composition.

Scientific Research Findings On Beyond Beef Compared to Ground Beef

There is a relative lack of research on Beyond Beef since it is a relatively new product.

However, some studies have compared the two and their health effects.

Here is a summary of the current research.

Peptidomics study of plant-based meat analogs as a source of bioactive peptides (2023)

This study demonstrated that consuming Beyond Meat products leads to significantly higher levels of bioactive peptides in the blood than regular beef (12).

Protein foods all provide bioactive peptides, which are chains of amino acids (proteins) that can have beneficial biological effects on the body (13).

Plasma amino acid appearance and status of appetite following a single meal of red meat or a plant-based meat analog: a randomized crossover clinical trial (2022)

This study involved thirty healthy men who consumed a test meal containing beef or a Beyond Beef burger. Blood samples and appetite and hunger status were collected over the following four hours (14).

The results showed that the beef meal resulted in greater amino acid bioavailability (absorption) than the Beyond Beef meal. Amino acids (proteins) in the blood peaked at 2-3 hours after the meal in each group. Overall, the Beyond Beef meal resulted in significantly lower concentrations of total amino acids, essential amino acids, and branch-chain amino acids.

There were no apparent differences between the groups regarding hunger, fullness, or craving scores.

Concerning the differences in amino acids in the blood, it is established that beef protein has a higher bioavailability than the proteins found in Beyond Beef (pea protein and rice protein) (15).

In other words, we can absorb more protein from beef when total protein is equated.

However, it appears that differences in protein quality are not a significant issue if total protein intake is high enough to absorb sufficient amounts of amino acids (16, 17).

For example, according to a study that evaluated the effect of an exclusively plant-based diet versus an omnivore diet, there was no difference between the two diets in supporting muscle strength and mass gain when total protein intake was over 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (16).

SWAP-MEAT (Study With Appetizing Plantfood – Meat Eating Alternatives Trial) (2020)

This randomized crossover study aimed to compare the effects of consuming plant-based meat (Beyond Meat) with ground beef on cardiovascular risk markers (18).

Thirty-six participants in the study were randomized into one of two groups; one group was advised to consume two beef burgers made with ground beef per day. The other group was instructed to eat two burgers made with Beyond Beef.

At the end of the eight weeks of the study, LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) was significantly higher in the group consuming the ground beef burgers.

The mean LDL in the group consuming Beyond burgers at the end of the 8-week study was 109.9 mg/dL, whereas the mean LDL in the group consuming two ground beef burgers was 120.7 mg/DL.

LDL-C is a marker of risk for cardiovascular disease and, all else being equal, higher LDL-C is strongly associated with increased cardiovascular risk (19).

Limitations of this study

There was a limitation with this study, which involved the nutritional composition of the supplied burgers.

To expand on this, the burgers provided that were made with ground beef used 80% lean beef and had a saturated fat content of 9 grams per burger. In contrast, the Beyond Beef burgers had a saturated fat content of 6 grams per burger.

Thus, the group assigned to two beef burgers daily would have been consuming six grams of extra saturated fat compared to the plant-based group. Since higher saturated fat intake raises LDL-C levels, it is thus hard to determine how much of the reported difference in LDL-C was from the differing saturated fat content of the burgers versus other potential nutritional differences (20).

The researchers mention this point while discussing the study’s limitations, pointing out that using 85% lean beef would have provided a lower saturated fat content.

Key Point: Based on biomarkers of health and post-meal amino acids in the blood, several studies show ground beef and Beyond Beef can have slightly different effects.

Final Thoughts

This article shows that Beyond Beef provides a decent range of protein, vitamins, and minerals, as does regular ground beef.

However, Beyond Beef is not an exact nutritional replacement for ground beef, and it is important to be aware of the differences between them.

Lastly, claims that Beyond Beef is vastly “healthier” or “inferior” to ground beef are challenging to substantiate based on the currently limited evidence.

For more on plant-based proteins, see this guide to mycoprotein.

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Michael Joseph, MSc

Michael works as a nutrition educator in a community setting and holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. He believes in providing reliable and objective nutritional information to allow informed decisions.