Rather than turn up their noses when walking past a Burger King, fans of plant-based fast food can now follow them into the restaurant, where they can tuck into the company’s new Vegan Royale. Head in on a Meat Free Monday and you can use the Burger King app to get money off too.
The world’s second largest purveyor of hamburgers has created a plant-based alternative to its Chicken Royale that has been certified by the Vegan Society. Burger King says it has been “years in development” and that it “purposefully” took its time bringing the product to market, which neatly sidesteps any accusations of coming late to the green-dining revolution.
Not that they’re not rushing to catch up: the chain has committed to making 50 per cent of its menu plant-based by 2031, and to reducing the carbon emissions at each of its restaurants by 41 per cent by 2030.
The company’s first attempt at catering to vegans, the Plant-Based Whopper, is also back on the menu after being shelved during the pandemic, though it isn’t certified vegan. Originally launched last year as the Rebel Whopper, the company was forced to rethink that claim after the Advertising Standards Authority pointed out it contained egg mayonnaise and was cooked alongside meat products.
The new Plant-Based Whopper patty and the Vegan Royale’s crispy coated fake chicken fillet have been created by The Vegetarian Butcher – the first company of its kind in Europe, whose products are now available in the UK. According to Soco Nunez, Burger King UK’s marketing director, the Vegan Royale offers “an identical taste experience to the original Chicken Royale” made from the Vegetarian Butcher’s own-brand protein-rich lupin seeds.
Millie Powell, head of brand at The Vegetarian Butcher, said: “We’re on a mission to help people make easy and tasty plant-based switches, and by recreating the taste of the Whopper and the Royale with our plant-based patties we’re ensuring everyone can enjoy the taste, texture and satisfaction of these Burger King classics – but without sacrificing a thing.”
The Vegan Royale usually costs £4.79, but to celebrate its decision to designate the start of the week a Meat Free Monday, Burger King is giving users of its BurgerKingUK app a discount. That means diners can tuck into the Vegan Royale for a mere £2.49, or get a Plant-Based Whopper for £1.99. The Vegan Society has also green-stamped Burger King’s Royale Wrap, Vegan Bean Burger, children’s Veggie Burger and fries.
Burger King’s move will pile pressure on McDonald’s, the world’s biggest burger joint, to get its vegan act together. It trialled its first vegan burger back in 2017, flipping the McVegan on selected griddles in outlets in Finland. It ended up being sold widely in that country and in Sweden, but then last year it disappeared. Let’s hope the much-touted McPlant, currently being trialled in Denmark and Sweden, doesn’t go the same way.
Meanwhile other companies are pushing ahead with catering to growing numbers who don’t want their fast food to cost the earth.