US fast-food chain Burger King launched its meatless burger in Europe on Tuesday, November 12, aiming to grab a large slice of a rising market. Following trials in the United States and Sweden, the vegetarian version of the prime “Whopper” hamburger will be added to the menu in 25 countries and 2,500 restaurants
It’s Europe’s biggest product release ever. We’re seeing the potential for this to be a rising category in the future, said company president David Shear.
The latest meatless sandwich will be launched later in Britain, probably around the start of next year, the company said.
Burger King, best known for flame-grilled patties, said it was now the largest fast-food restaurant chain in Europe offering a veggie burger with the new product.
The business said the vegetarian brand in the United States had increased the sales of regular burgers as it attracted new customers who did not typically patronize fast-food outlets.
Nevertheless, some critics noted that if the same grills were used for meat and chicken products, the new offer would be shunned by strict vegetarians.
While Shear did not provide details on revenue or business goals in Europe.
Yum Brands and Kentucky Fried Chicken, the fast-food giant, and rivals have taken a step ahead of McDonald’s in the United States in recent months.
McDonald’s launched a test of its Big Vegan burger in Germany in April, which was developed in cooperation with Nestle.
It has also been testing a meat-free cheeseburger in Canada since the end of September but is not yet on a large-scale sales stage.
The global food industry has experienced open competition for substitute proteins to draw on increasing numbers of customers who have taken a vegan diet on nutritional, moral, and environmental grounds. Because of the climate crisis, JPMorgan said the plant-based “food” market could be worth $100 billion over the next 15 years, as beef production is a major global polluter. British tycoon Richard Branson has invested in Impossible Foods, while the billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is part-financing Beyond Meat.
They compete with the Dutch company The Vegetarian Butcher, recently purchased by the Unilever multinational group, supplying Burger King in Europe.
Nestle has been on sale in European and US supermarkets since the end of September with a soy protein and wheat-based hamburger.
In a recent study, consultants Deloitte said: The days have passed when alternative plant-based products were for the niche customer and limited shelf space was needed. The European plant-based alternative market is leading the way in terms of market size, with the European meat substitute market accounting for around 40% of the global market. The market is projected to grow to € 2.4 billion ($2.6 billion, £ 2.1 billion) by 2025 from € 1.5 billion in 2018, he added.
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