Fast-food giant Burger King is launching vegan chicken in the UK.
The chain’s CEO Alasdair Murdoch states meat-free nuggets and a plant-based Royale chicken burger are ‘in the pipeline’.
‘50% plant-based by 2031’
In an interview with i, he said: “When we bring in a plant-based product… There’s probably an equal and opposite reaction where we are taking something else off.
“Are there going to be fewer meat products? Ultimately, you would say yes.”
Murdoch also predicted that ‘within a decade’ half of the UK chain’s menu could be plant-based. And, that the amount of beef chain sells ‘as a proportion of our total sales is reducing’.
Burger King UK’s latest vegan burger
Earlier this year, Burger King UK ‘upgraded’ its classic Veggie Bean Burger to be suitable for vegans.
The chain confirmed to Plant Based News that there are ‘new procedures in place to prepare vegan orders to avoid meat and dairy contact’ when it comes to this new bean burger.
A spokesperson said: “Our staff have been specially trained to prepare the Vegan Bean Burger. The process will involve using separate utensils for any of our non-vegan products. Our Vegan patty will be placed in a dedicated colored pan and heated in a clean and sanitized microwave.
“The Vegan Society has recognized our efforts in our new processes and certified the new product as vegan. We advise that despite strict measures being implemented, the product may contain traces of dairy and egg, as the manufacturer also produces products containing these allergens.”
This is not the first burger the fast-food giant has created to appeal to meat reducers. However, it is the first to lack all animal ingredients.
Burger King made a significant foray into the meat-free market back in 2019, when it launched its Impossible Whopper in the US, trialing the sandwich in 59 stores in St. Louis. The burger contained the plant-based patty made by Impossible Foods, but also featured mayo (though customers could request it without).
The outlet said the Impossible Whopper ‘exceeded expectations’. Since then, it has rolled the sandwich out across all of Burger King’s 7,000 US outlets.
According to a Burger King spokesperson: “[The Impossible Whopper has] become one of the most successful product launches in brand history, leading to outstanding comparable sales of positive five percent this past quarter.”
Some vegans have embraced the Impossible Whopper, ordering it without mayo as an animal-free option. However, others have chosen to refran from consuming it due to Impossible Foods’ history of animal testing.
Impossible Foods itself describes its patty as plant-based rather than vegan. This is because one of its ingredients – soy leghemoglobin aka ‘heme’ – was fed to rats in order to test its safety. More than 180 rats were killed.