Meat-Free Fast Food Options Continue To Grow
Plant-based protein continues to go mainstream as another large fast-food restaurant has introduced a meat-free option to its menu. Be it concerns over health, sustainability or animals – consumers have become increasingly invested in adopting a plant-based diet.
The growth of plant-based options
According to data presented by The Good Food Institute, between 2016 and 2017, sales of plant-based foods grew by 8.1% (1).
Last year, the hamburger restaurant White Castle released the Impossible Slider – a burger that featured a meatless patty produced by the plant-based alternative manufacturing company Impossible Foods. The patty is made from a combination of soy protein and other ingredients that give it the same look and taste of an original beef patty. Following in their footsteps, fast food restaurant Carl’s Jr. also introduced a veggie burger to their menu, with help from the Los Angeles plant-based meat company Beyond Meat.
More restaurants go meat-free
Joining the fray is popular franchise Burger King, who, in partnership with Impossible Foods, are giving their Impossible Whooper a trial run in 59 restaurants in the St. Louis area. If successful, the franchise is set to sell the burger for $1 more than a regular burger in all of its 7,200 branches across the United States.
Already ahead of the burger chain company is Del Taco, who, starting April 25, will be including the Beyond Meat item (a pea-based meat substitute) on their menu. As a result, Del Taco will become the first big Mexican fast-food restaurant to use plant-based meat in their food.
“It provides vegans and vegetarians or anyone wanting to cut down red meat consumption with more variety and convenience than they have today,” said president and CEO of Del Taco John Cappasola to USA TODAY.
“You can have a taco experience without feeling like you’re sacrificing.”
However, while the number of fast food chains offering meat-free meals continues to grow, one noticeable absence from the list is probably the most famous fast food chain of them all- McDonald’s.
Following Burger King’s announcement, a five-year-old Change.org petition calling for McDonald’s to add more vegan options re-emerged.
“McDonald’s is being left behind by its biggest rival — who is demonstrating that a national fast-food chain must cater to a new generation of consumers by offering a healthy and tasty meat-free burger,” said the petition’s creator Kathy Freston, as she updated the 183 735 signed petition (it needs 200 000 signatures).
That said, one should point out that McDonald’s is quite capable of responding to consumer demand and concerns. Not only do they already offer vegan and vegetarian-friendly options in countries such as Sweden, Finland, and India, but they have also announced their intention to have all of their classic burgers free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives by 2025.
Coupled with the fact that they have been struggling with traffic, and it won’t be long before they start offering delicious, meat-free options.
Want To Know More?
In a move towards improved health and sustainability for the city’s school children, all schools in New York City will be implementing the practice of Meatless Monday on the first day of the new week during the 2019 – 2020 school year. Click here to find out more about the story.