The sandwich features the same burger build as the store’s traditional beef-based option, replacing the patty with Impossible Foods’ plant-based patty. It also features tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, pickles, and sliced white onions on sesame seed bun. Mayo can be removed to make the option free of animal ingredients.
The fast-food chain initially trialed the Impossible Whopper in 59 locations in and around St. Louis, Missouri, launching on April 1. Now the brand has plans to make it available in more regions throughout the Summer, and nationally by the end of 2019 if the reception is positive.
According to a statement from Burger King, the St Louis trial went exceedingly well. “As a result there are plans to extend testing into additional markets in the very near future,” said a representative for the chain.
It seems that the sandwich is currently mainly attracting new customers, with José Cil, the CEO of Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International, saying: “We aren’t seeing guests swap the original Whopper for the Impossible Whopper…it’s attracting new guests.”
‘Plant-based not vegan’
Impossible Foods describes its patty as plant-based rather than vegan because one of its ingredients – soy leghemoglobin aka ‘heme’ – was fed to rats in order to test its safety. In excess of 180 rats were killed as a result of the testing.
When the testing became public knowledge, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown, a vegan of more than 16 years, published a statement titled The Agonizing Dilemma of Animal Testing.
In it, Brown said the core of his company’s mission is to ‘eliminate exploitation of animals in the food system’, as well as reduce the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.
“Among the thousands of animal species surveyed every decade by the World Wildlife Fund, the total number of living individual wild animals today is less than half what it was 40 years ago,” he wrote.
“This wildlife loss is overwhelmingly due to the exploitation of animals for food, including hunting, fishing and especially the replacement of wildlife habitat by animal farming.”