Burger King launches Unilever’s plant-based whoppers in Europe

EUROPE – Burger King is launching its plant-based Rebel Whopper in Europe made with patties from The Vegetarian Butcher, a meat-substitute producer owned by Unilever.

The Vegetarian Butcher will supply the plant-based patties for Burger King’s Rebel Whopper in more than 2,400 European locations including Germany, Spain, Poland and Italy.

David Shear, head of Burger King operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa said that the initial rollout would expand into other markets in the region.

Burger King first launched the Rebel Whopper and another meatless sandwich, the Rebel Chicken King, in Sweden earlier this year. Shear said that the supply contract would eventually be transferred to Unilever.

The burgers will be Burger King’s biggest ever product launch in Europe. The new Rebel Whopper will retail at the same price as its beef counterpart in Europe.

Demand for plant-based products has increased over the last years and the restaurant brand has been strengthening its foothold in the exploding market for plant-based food served in its outlets.

In the US, Burger King will also be testing substituting beef patties with Impossible Foods’ patties in its Whopper Jr. burgers and signature hamburgers.

The burger chain said it will be testing the product and the extended Impossible burger line in 180 outlets. The company is also working on meatless products for Latin America and Asia as well.

Burger King is also selling another plant-based Rebel Whopper throughout Brazil, made by meat packer Marfrig Global Foods in partnership with commodities trader Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Burger King’s same-store sales in the United States grew by 5% during its third quarter, its largest jump since 2015, thanks in part to the success of the Impossible Whopper.

The Impossible Burger, which the Impossible Foods developed in 2016, has already been on menus of various fast food brands including Burger King, White Castle, Little Caesars, Qdoba, Cheesecake Factory and Red Robin.

Impossible Foods now plans to expand in the market by rolling out the burger in industry-leading grocery stores in key regions throughout the fourth quarter and into early 2020.

At the same time, Burger King’s major rival McDonald’s is testing a burger made with Beyond Meat patties as elect location in Canada.

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