The Plant-Based Fast-Food Revolution

Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat lead the plant-based meat market. Photo by Impossible Foods.

If you walked into your favorite fast-food restaurant five years ago and asked for vegetarian options, you would be offered a salad or grilled cheese. Fast forward to today and McDonald’s, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and every other restaurant in between jumped headfirst into the plant-based food revolution. What was once a niche dietary restriction is now a trendy way to save to the planet. Meat lovers trying to be environmentally conscious can thank Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat for inventing veggie patties that taste and look like real beef.

These two brands make fake meat desirable to even the most dedicated carnivores. YouTube is filled with videos from people whose curiosity was sparked by fast-food restaurants putting new twists on old classics launching the Impossible Whopper, Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, The Beyond Meatball Marinara and more. This “meat” is conquering the market and causing a frenzy among restaurants quickly trying to adapt.

Both the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger look like raw beef before being cooked. Photo by Business Wire.

Burger King’s partnership with Impossible Foods exploded on the internet, with sales increasing 5% since August 2019, paving the way for fast-food to invest in plant-based menu expansions. While these additions alone won’t solve climate change, it is a step forward in trying to make people think about the small ways they can adjust their everyday habits to not eat as much beef.

In a competition of whose fake meat is the best, reviewers often lean toward Impossible for its uncanny beef taste and bleeding element. Die-hard vegetarians sometimes say Impossible meat is so beef-like to the point where it grosses them out. Both brands have their pros and cons. What makes the taste of Impossible burgers so meaty is heme, an iron ingredient the company isolated as what gives real meat its distinctive flavor. Beyond instead uses beet juice to achieve its pink color.

Here are some of the chains where you can put these “bleeding” meat alternatives to the test for yourself:

Burger King

Menu Item: Impossible Whopper & Impossible Whopper Jr.

Impossible Whopper at Burger King. Photo by Burger King.
Dunkin Donuts

Menu Item: Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich

Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich from Dunkin Donuts. Photo by Dunkin Donuts.
McDonald’s

Menu Item: P.L.T. (only available in Canada)

P.L.T. available at McDonald’s in Canada. Photo by McDonald’s.
Subway

Menu Item: Beyond Meatball Marinara

Beyond Meatball Marinara from Subway. Photo by Subway.
Hardee’s

Menu Item: Beyond Thickburger & Beyond Sausage Biscuit

Beyond Burger and Sausage Biscuit at Hardee’s. Photo by Business Wire.
Denny’s

Menu Item: Beyond Burger

Beyond Burger from Denny’s. Photo by Denny’s.
Umami Burger

Menu Item: Impossible Burger

Impossible Burger from Umami Burger. Photo by Umami Burger.
Hard Rock Café

Menu Item: Impossible Burger

Impossible Burger at Hard Rock Cafe. Photo by Hard Rock Cafe & Impossible Foods.
Cheesecake Factory

Menu Item: Impossible Burger

Impossible Burger at Cheesecake Factory. Photo by Cheesecake Factory.
White Castle

Menu Item: Impossible Slider

Impossible slider from White Castle. Photo by White Castle.
Carl’s Jr.

Menu Item: Beyond Famous Star

Beyond Famous Star at Carl’s JR. Photo by Carl’s JR.
Qdoba

Menu Item: Impossible Ground Beef

Impossible Beef from Qdoba. Photo by Qdoba.
Red Robin

Menu Item: Impossible Burger

Impossible Burger at Red Robin. Photo by Red Robin.
TGI Fridays

Menu Item: Beyond Burger

Beyond Burger at TGI Fridays. Photo by TGI Fridays.

Cover Photo by Impossible Foods.

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