When people think about a fast-food restaurant, the snack items that usually come to their mind are Burgers and if you want to call out some lip-smacking choices – Whopper from Burger King and a Big Mac from McDonald’s are at the top of the list.
Though two different fast-food chains offer these burgers, they have a common ingredient in them – MEAT.
However, the trend has changed over time, and famous food chain brands such as Starbucks, Burger King, McDonald’s, etc., have started expanding their menu by including meatless options like plant-based meat.
Why the shift? It’s because many people support a vegetarian diet as it’s better for health reasons, animal welfare, and most importantly for the environment. Wondering how? Check out our other article that offers better insight into this. For now, let’s know what plant-based meat is and which MNC food companies have started offering this imitation meat.
What Do You Mean by Plant-Based Meat?
Plant-based meat refers to food made of plants and vegetables but designed to mimic meat in all ways, from smell, texture, appearance, to taste. It generally comes in the form of ground meat, sausages, burgers, nuggets, crumbles, and more and is used as an ideal alternative protein ingredient.
As climate change affects the agricultural output globally, different countries are making their food production systems sustainable, focusing on developing plant-based meat, and major food-chains are also working on it.
Food Chains That Have Adopted Plant-Based Meat Substitutes
There is a growing list of Fast-Food Chains offering a Plant-Based Meat menu.
In the year 2019, on the occasion of Earth Day, Blaze Pizza invited people to witness the delicious taste of its “Vegan Spicy Chorizo” topping. Unlike other food chains, which use plant-based meat made by other brands, this California-based pizza company created its own topping with the help of Bradford Kent, their in-house executive chef. With a soy protein base, the topping combines onion, paprika, garlic, and other seasonings.
McDonald’s has decided to partner with Beyond Meat to create its plant-based products.
Besides, the brand is also planning to introduce imitation chicken nuggets as well as plant-based breakfast sandwiches. For this purpose, McDonald’s will launch the “McPlant” line of plant-based meat menu items. If reports are to be believed, McDonald’s new line-up will gradually include faux meat and chicken.
— National Post (@nationalpost) September 26, 2019
Burger King Impossible Whopper
This world-famous fast-food giant launched the “Impossible Whopper” burger made with a plant-based protein patty in all its restaurants located in the U.S in 2019. Since then they have expanded into new markets in Latin America, the Caribbean, and China
The item has the same number of calories that you will otherwise find in a traditional Burger King Whopper, but the only difference is that it has an additional 9 grams of sodium and carbs. The Impossible Whopper is getting more popular among food lovers with time. The food chain also launched “Veggie Burger,” a burger weighing around a quarter-pound with pickles, onions, unique sauce, American cheese, and more.
Burger King is working in partnership with global FMCG major Unilever brand The Vegetarian Butcher. Unilever itself is growing its plant-based meat and dairy alternatives business by developing vegan options of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Magnum ice creams.
Becoming the largest butcher in the world has always been @vegebutcher’s ambition. The launch of the Plant-Based Whopper® in China, Latin America and the Caribbean takes it one step closer to achieving that goal. #PlantBased #FoodRevolution pic.twitter.com/n1ABhbxwOC
— Unilever #StaySafe (@Unilever) January 10, 2021
Like other brands, Starbucks is also adding plant-based meat to its menu. The coffeehouse company launched a super delicious breakfast sandwich containing an imitation sausage made by Impossible Food.
Protein-packed, delicious, and plant-based. Unbelievable? Perhaps. Impossible? Almost certainly. Get a taste of the new Impossible™ Breakfast Sandwich, only at Starbucks.
US only. pic.twitter.com/p0IoKclzJl
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) September 18, 2020
Apart from this, Starbucks started selling pasta, wraps, and lasagne made of Beyond Meat crumbles in China in April 2020. Besides, the brand also launched a mouth-watering Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich.
U.S. quick-service restaurant Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s who are well known for their meaty burger, but in 2019 they partnered with Beyond Meat and added plant-based sausage and beef-less “beef” in their menu. Like Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger and Beyond Famous Star, Carl’s Jr.’s plant-based meat items received a lot of positive feedback from the foodies. The fast-food chain has launched two new breakfast items: the Beyond Sausage Egg and Cheese and the Beyond Sausage Burrito.
— Carl’s Jr. (@CarlsJr) August 13, 2019
After receiving massive success during the test run in New York City, Dunkin finally included its unique Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich in its menu. The patty of this sandwich contains mung beans, sunflower, rice, and peas to offer protein, and coconut oil as well for juiciness. However, all the Lacto-vegetarians should keep in mind that the sandwich contains an American cheese and egg patty and must be careful while placing their order.
Try the great taste of the plant-based Beyond Sausage Sandwich now available at Dunkin’ locations nationwide. Order Ahead with the Dunkin’ App.
— Dunkin' (@dunkindonuts) December 19, 2019
In August 2019, Subway partnered with Beyond Meat to introduce an exclusive plant-based meat option to their menu. Since then, the brand has launched the “Beyond Meatball Marinara Sub” at around 685 participating restaurants located in Canada and the U.S.
How do you feel about our plant-based meatballs?
— SUBWAY® Canada (@SUBWAYCanada) January 24, 2020
This sub lets you enjoy the same delicious and mouth-watering taste as the traditional meatball sub of Subway. It has marinara sauce, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, topped with Monterey Jack cheese and shredded mozzarella.
Del Taco was the first Mexican fast-food chain to introduce Beyond Meat at its 580 restaurants in the country. The food-chain introduced “Epic Beyond Original Mex Burrito,” which comes loaded with beans made from scratch, fresh guacamole, cilantro lime rice, and pico de gallo. This delicious burrito is 100 percent vegan.
— Del Taco Restaurants (@DelTaco) May 17, 2019
Plant-based meats are here to stay, and if their future benefits are to be considered, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that shifting to plant-based meat will prove to be a wise decision.
The best aspect of this imitation meat is that we don’t have to compromise with the taste. These taste as delicious and flavorful as the usual meat-based foods.
The ingredients were purposefully mentioned, so the next time you visit your favorite fast-food restaurant chain, don’t forget to try out these healthy plant-based meat substitutes.