Burger King & The Vegetarian Butcher Opens the First Plant-Based Restaurant
June 11, 2021
With its first and only plant-based restaurant in the world, Burger King is looking to expand its collaboration with The Vegetarian Butcher. In cooperation with The Vegetarian Butcher, Burger King has opened its first plant-based restaurant as a pop-up store in Cologne. From June 7th to 11th, guests at Schildergasse can try out exclusively plant-based burgers and nuggets as well as new veggie products. Among other things, a plant-based Long Chicken Patty will be offered for the first time.
“Plant-based is no longer a trend – the market is there,” said Klaus Schmäing, Director Marketing at Burger King Germany, at the launch in Cologne. More and more people are eating a meat-free diet. According to a survey by IfD Allensbach, 8 million Germans already do not eat meat, of which around 1 million live vegans. And the number of flexitarians – people who rarely eat meat – is large and growing steadily.
Whether Whopper or Nuggets: Burger King classics are still on the menu at the Cologne pop-up store – but all in plant-based form. The main ingredients of the patties are soy and spices. In terms of taste, the veggie offerings are supposed to be in no way inferior to the animal-based originals. “Plant-based means no compromises, but maximum taste,” Schmäing says. All products were developed in cooperation with The Vegetarian Butcher. Founded by Dutch farmer Jaap Korteweg and now part of the Unilever Group, the brand is all about recreating the taste and enjoyment of meat. The Vegetarian Butcher doesn’t see its products as meat substitutes, but as meat replacements, in other words: the new meat, which brings environmental and animal welfare benefits. “The topic of plant-based has developed enormously in recent years – and will become even more important in the future,” predicts Harm van Tongeren, Vice President Unilever Food Solutions.
Burger King has already had the Plant-based Whopper on its menu since 2019, followed a year later by Plant-based Nuggets. According to Schmäing, demand for the veggie variants is very good: already every 5th Whopper sold in Germany is a Plant-based product. “For us, it’s about offering our guests the alternatives they demand. Younger consumers in particular are paying more attention to sustainability. The environment and animal welfare are important to them.”
After four days, the store will return to offering the normal Burger King range at the end of the week. What consequences the Cologne test project will have for Burger King’s assortment design remains to be seen. It is already becoming apparent that plant-based products will play an important role in tomorrow’s range. “We are seeing new guests in our restaurants. The offer appeals to people who would otherwise never have come here.”