Burger King Is Now "Home of the Fake Meat Whopper"

Offering Impossible Foods' plant-based meat as alternative version of its signature sandwich is far from a sure win.


Rich Duprey, The Motley Fool

Apr 9, 2019


Burger King is testing a new Whopper made with fake meat at 59 St. Louis-area restaurants. The so-called Impossible Whopper will be the same as the chain's classic burger, only it will be made with the plant-based meat substitute from the vegetarian-favorite startup supplier Impossible Foods.


You can almost hear Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN) marketing team cranking up the old 1980s commercials with Clara Peller asking, "Where's the beef?"


Cattle call


Burger King is hardly the first burger joint to introduce faux meat to its menu -- both White Castle and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB) also offer Impossible Burgers. However, the Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR) chain says it is the first "coast to coast" national chain to test one out. Carl Jr's also offers a vegetarian burger from Impossible rival Beyond Meat.


Depending upon how the Impossible Whopper is received during the trial phase, it could eventually get rolled out nationwide. And if the marketing is to be believed, its taste is indistinguishable from the all-beef version.


The opportunity here is significant: The market for plant-based foods -- those that directly replace animal products -- hit $3.3 billion in 2018, up 20% in sales year over year, and the meat substitute industry grew at an even faster 24% to more than $670 million. (Sales of substitutes for dairy products like creamers, yogurt, and cheese are growing faster still, however, with some subcategories achieving triple-digit percentage growth rates.) The change in taste, in other words, is becoming mainstream.


An impossible task? ...


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