A new article from Bloomberg highlights the incredible success of vegan burgers at fast-food restaurants. Following booming sales of the Beyond Burger at Carl’s Jr. – more than 4 million sold – Hardee’s is now testing Beyond’s vegan patty and a vegan sausage in two of its largest markets. Both Hardee’s and Carls Jr. are owned by parent company CKE Restaurants.
What so remarkable about Bloomberg’s article though, is the clear excitement and demand for plant-based meat options at restaurants that have traditionally offered next to nothing for vegans and vegetarians.
Owen Klein, a VP of Global Culinary Innovation at CKE Restaurants remarked, “We’ve learned that we’re reaching a brand new guest, an incremental guest, that we hadn’t touched prior to launching it. Since late 2018 when we launched, we’ve sold over 4 million Beyond patties at Carl’s Jr., and a lot of them were to new faces that didn’t frequent Carl’s Jr. prior to that launch.”
But it’s not just vegans who are flocking to eat those Beyond Burgers. A recent study by the research firm NPD Group found that 95 percent of people who order vegan burgers at restaurants are actually meat eaters. And that there have been more than 200 million vegan burgers served at restaurant so far this year.
So what does this mean? Well, for one thing, it’s clear plant-based meat alternatives are not only having a moment, they’re crossing over into the mainstream and into areas that would’ve been unthinkable even just a few short years ago.
This week, Burger King announced that it’s expanding its Impossible Whopper nationally. Sales of Impossible’s vegan burger are so astronomically high the company actually had to outsource production to a major meat supplier to help them keep up with demand. Dunkin’ Donuts also got into the plant-based game last week, revealing it’s testing a Beyond Meat breakfast sausage at locations in Manhattan – with plans to expand nationally. Canada’s fast food giant Tim Hortons is doing the same, and also adding vegan eggs by JUST to its menu.
All this booming success of vegan alternatives prompted Outside magazine to declare this week: “This is the beginning of the end of the beef industry.” Damned right it is.
Believe it or not, there are now more than 15 chain restaurants that offer vegan meat as a regular item on their menus. It seems the vegan revolution is finally upon us, and it’s fucking glorious.