Burger King rolled out a meatless version of its signature Whopper in 59 stores around St. Louis, Missouri Monday, becoming the latest fast-food joint to serve up plant-based patties.
The burger giant’s latest menu item will use “meat” made by Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods and will cost $1 more than the original Whopper, reports Reuters. The plant-based patty, which bleeds and sizzles, is made using an iron-containing compound called heme.
Burger King’s new Whopper comes amid a wave of meatless burger options at popular fast-food chains. Carl’s Jr. and White Castle are both already selling beef-less patties. But the meat-substitute’s appearance at Burger King, the second-largest hamburger chain in the U.S., may signal that plant-based meat replacements are ready to go mainstream.
Globally, demand for plant-based protein is increasing, as people look for healthier and more environmentally-friendly meat substitutes, according to consumer surveys.
Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have used technology to create plant-based meat replacements that look, taste and smell more like real meat than their faux-meat predecessors. These newer replicants have captured the interest of consumers and investors alike in recent years, and prompted the U.S. cattle industry to fight back.
Burger King plans to add the meatless Whopper to its other stores if the trial goes well. “If the Burger King launch is as successful as I expect it to be, and we go nationwide, that will add more than 7,000 restaurants that serve the Impossible Burger,” Impossible’s Chief Executive Brown said, according to Reuters.