Burger King, one of the world's leading fast-food chains, recently announced that they are going to sell Impossible Whoppers nationwide by the end of 2019.
The fast-food restaurant recently did a trial run of the plant-based burger at St. Louis in early April. Because of its resounding success, Burger King's parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. decided to roll out the Impossible Whopper in more branches across the United States.
According to José Cil, CEO of Burger King parent company RBI, they would first sell the vegetarian burger at select cities in the summer. If guest reaction stays on top of the charts, the company would expand in a nationwide launch.
The move comes as Burger King wants to give the consumers more balance in their diet. The product is designed to give the customers another option if they want to eat a burger every day, but not eat beef or any kind of meat.
Cil said part of the Impossible Whopper's success is its nearly identical taste and texture with the regular whopper. To do this, Burger King partnered with Impossible Foods, a relatively new fake meat start-up.
Impossible Foods recently revealed a new recipe for a burger patty called the Impossible Burger. It's said to taste and look even more like real meat. That is what Burger King used in their Impossible Whoppers.
The patty is made from plant-based proteins, and there is no animal product or byproduct included in the ingredients. It's also halal and kosher-certified.
"It's really difficult to distinguish between the Impossible Whopper and the original offer. And based on guest reaction, we decided to advance our plans to expand the Impossible Whopper to select new markets this summer," said Cil to Engadget.
And we're going to target a national rollout toward the end of the year, if guest reaction continues to remain as strong as we've seen in St Louis."
Burger King is not the only restaurant that sells plant-based protein or meat alternatives. 5,000 restaurants in the country already have the Impossible Burger on their menus, such as Red Robin and White Castle.
According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, public interest in plant-based protein has been increasing each year. The form forecasted that the global market for meat substitutes is set to grow from an estimated $4.6 billion in 2018 to $6.4 billion by 2023.
The steady growth is mainly because of the growing concern of people worldwide for the environmental and health impacts of meat and factory farming. Compared to the beef industry, the environmental footprint of plant-based foods is comparably lower.
That fact is an added appeal to environmentalists and vegetarians alike.
Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods, is hoping that plant-based foods will replace the worldwide need for animal meat by 2035. According to the company's 2018 Sustainability Report, if Americans replace 50 percent of their beef intake with plant-based food, the earth would be spared 35 million metric tons of carbon.
"It seems like the world is coming around," said Brown in a statement. "They are seeing that plant-based meats can be delicious and recognizing this in the face of catastrophic effects of animal farming."