Burger King and Nestle launch new meat-free burgers as demand for vegetarian foods rises
Burger King is trialling a new plant-based burger made from ingredients including soy protein, coconut oil and potato protein.
The Impossible Whopper is being trialled in US city St Louis and customers have had their first taste of the beefless patty.
The burger provides a meat-free alternative to the famed flame-grilled beef Whopper.
It has been described as the Whopper's "twin" by the burger's manufacturer, and contains 17g of protein and zero cholesterol.
The burger's likeness to real meat has been praised by some on social media.
One user commented: "It's actually really good. I would not be able to tell it wasn't really beef."
Another customer posted on social media: "Would do again."
The burger is being produced by environmentally-focused food manufacturer Impossible Foods.
Other ingredients in the patty include sunflower oil and heme, a plant-based ingredient that makes the burger "taste like meat", according to the company.
Impossible Foods' mission statement claims that "using animals to make meat is a prehistoric and destructive technology" and using meat-free alternatives is important for the environment.
It adds: "Animal agriculture occupies almost half the land on earth, consumes a quarter of our freshwater and destroys our ecosystems."
Bakery chain Greggs in the UK recently boosted its sales by introducing a vegan sausage roll to their range, with the company's CEO Roger Whiteside labelling the product a "revelation".
Meanwhile, Nestle is also looking to take a bite of the fast-growing vegan foods market with a range of plant-based burgers, saying its recipes could compete for taste with traditional beef patties.
The world’s biggest packaged foods group, known for KitKat bars and Nescafe instant coffee, is trying to defend its place in consumers’ shopping carts by making products healthier, with less salt and sugar, and by introducing ranges more in line with modern eating habits.
Demand for meat-free foods is rising fast. Last year total U.S. retail sales of plant-based meat substitutes grew more than 23 percent to exceed $760 million, according to Nielsen sales data analyzed by The Good Food Institute, a non-profit organization promoting plant-based alternatives.
Food makers also say their latest offerings are tasty enough to tempt more meat eaters’ palates.
“Many consumers recognize that less meat in their diet is good for them and for the planet, but plant-based meat alternatives often do not live up to their expectations,” Nestle said.
It says its meat-free burgers, to be launched in several European markets this month under the Garden Gourmet “Incredible Burger” brand and made from soy and wheat protein with beetroot, carrot, and bell pepper extracts, tasted almost exactly like traditional beef burgers.
In the United States the group will start rolling out a plant-based range dubbed “Awesome Burgers” under its Sweet Earth brand from this autumn.