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Burger King is set to launch its plant-based Impossible Whopper throughout the United States.
The sandwich features the same burger build as the store’s traditional beef-based option, featuring tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, pickles, and sliced white onions on sesame seed bun. Mayo can be removed to make the option plant-based.
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.
“The Impossible Whopper test in St Louis went exceedingly well and as a result there are plans to extend testing into additional markets in the very near future,” a Burger King representative said in a statement.
They added that the test showed ‘encouraging results’ and that sales of the sandwich were ‘complementing traditional Whopper purchases’.
On Monday, the burger chain said that the St. Louis test is showing “encouraging results,” and that sales of the Impossible Whopper are “complementing traditional Whopper purchases.”
“We aren’t seeing guests swap the original Whopper for the Impossible Whopper…it’s attracting new guests,”said José Cil, the CEO of Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International.
According to a video made by Burger King and published on March 31, the chain conducted a test. “We conducted an experiment to evaluate how well Whopper fans know their beloved Whopper,” it said. “The people you will see here are real people and these are their real reactions.”
Multiple customers said they ‘couldn’t tell the difference’. In addition, staff members also reportedly struggled to identify the two burgers.
“People on my team who know the Whopper inside and out, they try it and they struggle to differentiate which one is which,” Burger King’s Chief Marketing Officer, Fernando Machado, told the New York Times.
“I have high expectations that it’s going to be big business, not just a niche product.”We see there is no compromise on taste, and lots of upside on things that people seem to be looking for.”
Impossible Foods controversy
Impossible Foods, and its flagship patty, have not been free of controversy; in 2017, it was revealed that a key ingredient – soy leghemoglobin aka ‘heme’ – from the brand’s flagship item the Impossible Burger was fed to rats in order to test its safety. In excess of 180 rats were killed as a result of the testing.
CEO Pat Brown has reacted to the controversy, publishing a statement titled The Agonizing Dilemma of Animal Testing.
Brown, who has been vegan for more than 15 years, 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 added.
“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.”