January has already seen fast-food chains clamouring to outdo each other with their new vegan launches: McDonald’s announced its vegan-approved veggie dippers, while KFC revealed a vegan burger with zero chicken. Even Pizza Hut jumped on the bandwagon with its vegan Pepperphoni pizza.
Now, Burger King has announced its plant-based addition – but there’s one hell of a catch. Vegetarians and vegans can’t actually eat it. You heard that correctly.
The Rebel Whopper is a 100% plant-based patty topped with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, crunchy pickles and sliced white onions on a toasted sesame seed bun.
While the chain has clearly gone to a lot of effort to make the burger a plant-based delight – the patty is made from sustainably-sourced soy and was developed in partnership with The Vegetarian Butcher – vegans and vegetarians can’t eat it because the patty is cooked on the same grill as the meat.
Burger King is selling the burger, marketed at flexitarians (those trying to cut down on the amount of meat they consume), in restaurants across the UK.
Katie Evans, marketing director of Burger King called the Rebel Whopper a “game changer”.
“We wanted our first plant-based Whopper to replicate the indulgence and flame-grilled taste of the real thing as closely as possible, and we’re thrilled with the result,” she said. “We’re delighted to satisfy the demand for this highly-anticipated product and finally bring the Rebel to the UK.”
Toni Vernelli, international head of communications and marketing at Veganuary, said: “For all of the important issues that Veganuary – and most vegans – are trying to address through their food choices, it makes absolutely no difference whether the plant-based patty is cooked separately or on the same grill as the meat.”
Try telling that to these guys.
Vernelli concluded: “What does make a big difference to animals and the planet is when non-vegans choose a plant-based menu option, enjoy it and then order it again. And that’s exactly who Burger King’s plant-based Whopper is aimed at, flexitarians who want to reduce their meat consumption for health or environmental reasons, or are considering going vegan.”
The Rebel Whopper is available to purchase in-store exclusively for those with the Burger King app on the 6 and 7 January, before being made available nationwide from the 8 January.