Tag Archives: Burger King

The food of the future – plant-based meats

beyondburgerFor years we’ve said that plant-based foods are the foods of the future. Now, we’re watching that future unfold right before our eyes. The meat alternative industry is headed toward a $40B market by 2030, analysts say.

Plant-based foods are one of the hottest trends in the food industry right now. Indeed, within roughly a week, plant-based-meat maker Beyond Meat became the best performing public offering by a major U.S. company in almost two decades. Our latest information has Beyond Meat shares soaring anew to bring post-IPO gain to 240%. Yes, we said 240%.

While we’re excited for Beyond Meat, they’ll have plenty of competition. Boca Foods, Field Roast Grain Meat Co., Gardein, Impossible Foods, Lightlife, Morningstar Farms and Tofurky are growing strong as well.

Meanwhile fast food chain Burger King said that it would roll out the plant-based Impossible Whopper nationwide, and furniture giant Ikea announced that it would upgrade the meatless version of its popular Swedish meatballs. Restaurants such as TGI Friday’s are jumping on board too. According to stock analyst Kathleen Smith, restaurant chains are finding that they can draw customers just because they have a meat alternative.

Speculation is being fueled by the presence of Don Thompson, chief executive and founder of venture firm Cleveland Avenue, on the Beyond Meat board. Thompson is a former chief executive of fast-food giant McDonald’s which he helmed from 2012 until his resignation in 2015.

Could McDonald’s be next? Stay tuned for further developments.

The Meatless Whopper

Impossible whopper

Burger King, known for meaty excess like its Bacon King sandwich, is now selling a plant based burger. Burger King announced a test run for the burger in 59 restaurants in the St. Louis area. Burger King says the sandwich will use patties from Impossible Foods. Burger King is taking its signature sandwich, the Whopper, and creating a vegan version.

The Impossible Whopper is flame grilled like the regular Whopper, and comes with the standard tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise (vegans hold the mayo), ketchup, pickles and onion.

The move underscores how chains are looking for new ways to gain an edge over rivals as competition heats up — and the rapid growth in demand for meat alternatives.

Impossible Burgers are designed to mimic meat using the company’s novel “magic” ingredient, heme, produced with a special kind of yeast. Impossible Foods, part of a growing crop of meat substitute producers, has sold its burgers at restaurants since 2016, starting with trendy eateries like David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi in New York and Jardiniere in San Francisco, and now served at over 5000 restaurants across the US.

Fast Food Vegetarian Options Increase

Amy's drive thruAmy’s, the all-vegetarian food manufacturer, is opening a fast food drive-thru later this month in Rohnert Park, California, a city north of San Francisco. It’s another first for the vegetarian world. It’s also a sign that more and more people are looking for vegetarian food.

The restaurant will offer vegetarian burgers, burritos, salads, and chili, as well as vegan non-dairy shakes. Each menu item can be ordered vegan and 95% of ingredients are organic. The prices look pretty good too: burgers for $2.99, burritos for $4.69, salads with seasonal produce will start as low as $3.99.

Seeing the growing trend, Wendy’s has just started test marketing veggie burgers. Wendy’s, which formerly offered no vegetarian friendly entrees, has started serving veggie burgers at two locations in Ohio. Burger King added veggie burgers to their menu way back in 2002, while White Castle, a chain popular on the East Coast, got in on the action this past December. Burger King has a special menu in India to cater to the large number of vegetarians there. Now rumor has it that Burger King might begin offering items from the specially-designed menu featured in India around the world.

It’s very encouraging to see more and more restaurants responding to the growing demand for vegetarian meals. We do have a suggestion for Amy’s though: open your next drive-thru in Seattle!

Former Burger King Chairman starts Vegetarian Company!

Brian and Kelly Swette

Brian and Kelly Swette

We couldn’t have asked for a better holiday gift! Former Board Chairman of Burger King, Brian Swette, has launched a vegetarian food company. The new company, Sweet Earth Natural Foods, touts its natural ingredients, such as nourishing grains, plant based proteins and vegetables.

From the look of its products, which include seitan, veggie burritos, and quinoa and lentil burgers, it would be hard to guess that its founder was once the board chairman of Burger King. But that’s exactly what founder Brian Swette was, until he was introduced to the sustainable foods movement.

As Swette learned more about health, food and sustainability, he had an “aha” moment. “I was kind of on the dark side of food” Swette says. “Knowing that health is one of the biggest challenges that face the country, I got this epiphany,” Swette said. “We could make a difference if we actually made a vegetarian food company.”

Brian and Kelly Swette launched the company about two years ago, operating out of a 35,000-square-foot site. Since then, they’ve produced 425,000 pounds of plant-based proteins, which is the equivalent of 280,000 chickens, Swette said. “We save about a thousand chickens today — if you look at the science of it, it’s mind blowing,” Swette explained during an interview.

With 65 employees, the company is ramping up production of its product line, having entered Whole Foods stores across the country, and gained spots on the shelves of numerous California grocery stores. The company has also started rolling out its products to Target stores.

Reaching the mainstream food industry, helping them to understand the harm that meat does to us and the world we live in, and recognizing the critical importance of vegetarian food, is exactly the kind of progress that can do so much for the vegetarian movement. This is one present we’ll treasure.