Burger King Testing An ‘Impossible Whopper’ With 0% Beef
A 0% beef Burger King Whopper? Is such a monstrosity at all possible?
Well, the answer is "Yes," and Burger King is test marketing this monstrosity right now at 59 of its stores around St. Louis, Missouri.
The burger with the fake but healthy meat is called the "Impossible Whopper." The "meat," which looks remarkably similar to red beef but with almost no cholesterol or fat, is made from a mixture of vegetables and other non-meat ingredients.
The plant-based patties were developed by Impossible Foods, Inc., an eight-year-old, California-based startup that develops plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy products. The plant-based burger has more protein, less total fat, no cholesterol, and fewer calories than a similar-sized hamburger patty made with beef.
The company aims to give people the taste and nutritional benefits of meat without the negative health and environmental impacts associated with livestock products.
With the Impossible Whopper, Burger King hopes to "give somebody who wants to eat a burger every day, but doesn't necessarily want to eat beef everyday, permission to come into the restaurants more frequently," said Chris Finazzo, president of Burger King North America.
It's also a way to encourage vegan and vegetarian eaters to check out Burger King.
The chain has been trying to figure out a way to add a plant-based burger option to its menu for about a year, admitted Finazzo.
"There's a lot of interest in plant-based burgers," he noted.
Going meatless provides health benefits, as we know. The Impossible Whopper has slightly fewer calories than the original, beef-based Whopper, and is very low in cholesterol and has zero trans fats.
"What (customers) don't want to give up on is flavor," according to Finazzo
The Impossible Whopper was developed to taste just like Burger King's regular Whopper. It's not a veggie burger, per se. Impossible Whopper patties are designed to mimic the look and texture of meat when cooked. The patty being used in Burger King's Impossible Whoppers is a special and new recipe designed to look and taste even more like meat.
Burger King customers will pay about $1 more for an Impossible Whopper compared to a regular Whopper. Finazzo said the extra cost will "more than offset the cost" of the Impossible protein.
Impossible Food products are now served at nearly 6,000 US restaurants. Among their patrons are White Castle and Fatburger. The Burger King partnership is a "milestone" for the company, said Impossible Foods COO and CFO David Lee.
"Burger King represents a different scale," he said.
Lee noted that as the company matures, it should be able to reduce costs for clients like Burger King.
Impossible Foods launched a new version of their signature burger, the Impossible Burger 2.0, last January. It claims the new burger is "tastier, juicier and more nutritious -- featuring 30% less sodium and 40% less saturated fat than our current recipe and just as much protein as 80/20 ground beef from cows." The new product is also gluten-free.