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April 5, 2019 -- Burger King has become the first global quick-service restaurant to embrace plant-based “meats” from startups including Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat -- both backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
The Silicon Valley start-up Impossible introduced its burgers three years ago at trendy restaurants like New York’s Momofuku Nishi. That led to partnerships with more than 5,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Asia. Now Burger King is serving an Impossible Whopper this spring at 59 restaurants in St. Louis.
Burger King’s research indicated that 9% of people buying plant-based meat are vegetarian, but 90% are meat eaters looking for healthier options.
“There’s a lot of people who want to eat a burger every day but don’t necessarily want to eat meat every day,” Chris Finazzo, president of Burger King’s North American division said.
Burger King’s Impossible Whopper is healthier on some counts to the meat-based Whopper but not on others. The burger has about the same amount of protein and calories but is higher in sodium and carbohydrates.
There are other benefits to meatless burgers. Beyond Meat says it takes 99% less water, 93% less land and 50% less energy to make plant-based burgers. They also emit 90% fewer greenhouse gases.
The Impossible Whopper announcement comes in the same week that Swiss food giant Nestlé unveiled its plans to roll out 100 per cent plant-based burgers across Europe and later in the year in the U.S. Nestle’s Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger will launch in Europe this April, first coming to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.