January 13, 2020

Will Impossible Foods partnership be a success for Burger King?

Author:
Vin DeRobertis, Americas CEO
Having plant-based options has already impressed current customers and is attracting younger generations to the fast-food brand."

It was announced at the CES tech conference last week that Burger King is to follow the launch of its plant-based Impossible Whopper with the ‘Impossible Croissan’wich' — this time made with Impossible Pork.


The meat-free ‘Impossible Croissan’wich’ – which will be rolled out across 139 Burger King restaurants across the US this month – is intended to be a plant-based alternative to the fast-food chain’s popular breakfast sandwich. Impossible Foods, the manufacturer behind the pork substitute, says it has a mission to replace the need for animals in the food chain completely.

Will plant-based products improve Burger King’s customer perception?

Whether it’s for health reasons, environmental concerns, animal welfare ­ – or just because people like the taste – plant-based foods are becoming increasingly popular. More and more food companies are acting on this trend, offering consumers greater choice and availability of meat-alternatives than ever before.

Fernando Mercado, Burger King’s CMO, said that having plant-based options has already impressed current customers and is attracting younger generations to the fast-food brand.

Savanta’s own BrandVue data backs this up. Positive buzz (i.e. whether someone has heard something positive about a brand in the last month) for Burger King US has increased from 25.9% to 31.2% since the launch of the Impossible Whopper back in April 2019. What’s more, positive buzz among 16-34-year olds has increased from 34.2% to 38.9% over the same period.

Meanwhile, the average positive buzz for Burger King’s competitors has been static (<1% increase).

A step in the right direction

While the product has been a success overall, the Impossible Whopper was quickly rejected by vegans due to the fact that the burger is topped with mayonnaise – although it is available without mayo on request.

While the protein-filled quarter pounder doesn’t contain any meat itself, Burger King has also acknowledged that it is cooked on the same grill as beef and chicken, meaning it doesn’t quite fit everyone’s criteria for being a true veggie burger either.

However, while the plant-based versions of classic meat-based products may not get the seal of approval from the entirety of the vegetarian population, they provide those who wish to cut down on their meat consumption with a quick and inexpensive alternative.

What’s more, even meat lovers have praised its new menu additions, with Eric Bohl, a senior meat industry lobbyist remarking “If I didn’t know what I was eating, I would have no idea it was not beef… farmers and ranchers need to take notice and get ready to compete. I’ve tasted it with my own mouth, and this fake meat is ready for prime time.”

In the main, it appears that Burger King’s meat-free offerings will be a winner in the eyes of both consumers and observers alike.

Learn more about the data we hold and how it can help you in our BrandVue Eating Out tool.


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