Yesterday, my wife and I went downtown for lunch. I could have had grilled chicken breast or maybe a salad, but I decided to go for another healthy option. A burger. That might sound delusional, but what I had wasn’t a typical burger. It was an “Impossible” burger, a new menu item that signals a very real alternative to a traditional all-beef patty.

The process of turning crops, water, and land into beef is extremely inefficient, and as delicious as a burger might be, red meat is not great for our bodies either. Made only from plant-based ingredients, the Impossible site claims that “Compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions.”  None of that would matter if it tasted awful though. There are lots of healthy foods that taste disgusting. Fortunately, science and millions in investments have moved us past the Tofurky days of meat replacements, and the Impossible burger is delicious. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. It just tasted like a really good burger to me. The texture, flavor, look… if I had ordered a “real” meat and been given this, I would have been none the wiser.

After my introduction to the new Impossible burger yesterday, I’m convinced burger lovers now have a credible alternative.

Not everyone was as enthusiastic as me, though. My wife thought it tasted great, but said she could definitely tell it wasn’t cow-based. Our waiter said that the restaurant is selling them like crazy, but for him it had an unpleasant aftertaste. He even asked me if I knew how they were made and said that the restaurant employees called it the “Labby Patty.” (As you can imagine, the U.S. Cattleman’s Association isn’t thrilled either.)

For me, the Impossible burger points to a future of better tasting, healthier, and far better-for-the-environment meat alternatives. It’s not just beef either, for virtually every type of meat, there are plant-based alternatives being developed in labs and kitchens around the world. And, like any technology, meat replacements will get better with each iteration. The “Impossible Burger 3.0” is going to be hard to beat.