Next week, Burger King’s signature whopper will have a new rival: the Impossible Whopper. In a partnership with Impossible Foods, Burger King will rollout the meatless, plant-based burger patty in its restaurants across the U.S. on August 8.
The burger, which was made to taste exactly like the original whopper, has been added as a limited-time offering on the menu, and costs $5.59, CNN reported. Chris Finazzo, Burger King’s President for the Americas told CNN that they are monitoring the meatless burger’s performance before making it a BK staple.
Earlier this year, Burger King instituted a test run of the Impossible Whopper in 59 stores throughout St. Louis, MO, to great success. According to data analytics done by inMarket inSights, stores in St. Louis that had the Impossible Whopper option experienced 16.5% higher foot traffic than the March average. Across the US, there was an average increase of 18.5% in foot traffic at these locations compared to other Burger King restaurants.
In an email, Rachel Konrad, Chief Communications Officer at Impossible Foods, says that the Impossible Whopper rollout had “unquestionably” raised the demand for their product. “The Impossible Burger is a unique product in that the more you’re aware of it and the more it’s available, the more you order it everywhere you go,” she says.
It is not just the vegetarians who seem enticed by the Impossible Whopper option. In a Gallup Poll from Aug. 2018, research shows that only 5% of Americans identify as vegetarians— a number which has stayed relatively stable since 1999. Only 3% reported following a vegan diet.
So why are people so interested in the meatless burger? The Impossible Burger is not just a vegetarian option, it’s also an environmentally friendly one. The company’s product reduces use of water, land and greenhouse gas emissions in the creation of its burgers. “It’s just plants doing the Impossible,” their website says.
But despite all the excitement surrounding the Impossible Burger, one concern lies with the company’s ability to meet the growing demand for its meat-free products. Impossible Foods is privately owned, so no production numbers are available, but even the New York Times has noted that the company’s supply can fall short of demand. In June, the New York Post wrote that the burger was “running dangerously low on supply.” The company currently services thousands of restaurants across the U.S. including White Castle, Qdoba, Burger King and Red Robin. Konrad says that they are continuing to expand their reach to more restaurants, and will be introducing the Impossible Burger in grocery stores next month.
In July, Impossible Foods issued another press release announcing a partnership with the OSI Group, which it dubs “one of the largest food producers in the world.” They hope that this joint venture will allow for increased manufacturing capacity to “help satisfy scorching demand.” Konrad explains that the deal with OSI will, “quadruple production capacity by the end of 2019. So there should be plenty of Impossible Burger to meet short-term demand.”
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