Plant protein Impossible Foods inks a deal with Burger King?!?!?!

Earlier this week we posted a Signal that highlighted the change underway at the deli counter in the grocery store as part of our Clean Living investing theme. We are seeing another company respond to the changing landscape that is the shift to better for you, healthier foods as Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, is testing a plant-based protein meat alternative with Impossible Foods.

Burger King isn’t the first fast food restaurant to adapt part of its menu to this tailwind, and odds are it won’t be the last, but it is the first (at least that we know of) that is bringing this degree of fast food scale to Impossible Foods. While there may not be a match between Impossible and Restaurant Brands’ Popeyes and Tim Hortons, we’ll be looking to see if Impossible and Burger King look to move beyond just the Impossible Whopper to other products. We’ll also be looking to see how McDonald’s, Wendy’s and others respond. Will they look to further the influence of our Clean Living investing theme on their menus, or will they instead embrace the sinful pleasure of burgers, fries and shakes that fall into our Guilty Pleasures investing theme?

The Impossible Whopper is supposed to taste just like Burger King’s regular Whopper. Unlike veggie burgers, Impossible burger patties are designed to mimic the look and texture of meat when cooked. The plant protein startup recently revealed a new recipe, designed to look and taste even more like meat. That version is being used in Burger King’s Impossible Whoppers.

Other fast food and fast casual items are also appealing to eaters with dietary restrictions or preferences. Taco Bell said in January that it’s testing out a vegetarian menu board in stores, and Chipotle (CMG) recently expanded its line of diet-based bowls to include vegan and vegetarian options. “Lifestyle bowls” launched earlier this year with Whole30 and double protein meals in addition to the keto and paleo bowls.

Impossible products are served at nearly 6,000 US restaurants right now, but the Burger King partnership is a “milestone” for the company, said Impossible Foods COO and CFO David Lee.

Source: Burger King is testing out the Impossible burger – CNN

McDonald’s takes steps to offer better burgers

McDonald’s takes steps to offer better burgers

While we would pause to say McDonald’s is a contender for our Clean Living investment theme, the company continues to overhaul its food offerings, making them a “better” Guilty Pleasure choice for consumers. Yes, it would be a stretch to call those now artificial ingredient free burgers “healthy” but we do applaud McDonald’s efforts to improve the quality of its products by making more of them free of artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, and added colors. And while they’ve dealt with the cheese and buns, one has to wonder how and when they will handle their pickles…

Given the herd like mentality across competitors, now to see how long until Burger King and others follow suit.

McDonald’s announced today that it has officially removed all artificial ingredients from its burgers, including regular burgers, cheeseburgers, double cheeseburgers, Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, Quater Pounders with cheese, and Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

All the ingredients in these burgers—that means the American Cheese, the Special Sauce, and all the buns, including plain, sesame and Big Mac—will be free of artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, and added colors. Specifically, there’s no more sorbic acid in the cheese; no more potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium EDTA in the Special Sauce; and no more calcium propionate in the buns, USA Today reports.

Now, McDonald’s, with its 14,000 U.S. locations, says that a full two-thirds of its burgers and sandwiches are totally natural. 

The remaining one-third is bad news for breakfast fans who want to “eat clean.” The Egg McMuffin; Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit; and Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles, among other sandwiches, still contain artificial ingredients.

Source: McDonald’s Nixes Artificial Ingredients from Its Burgers | Food & Wine

Obesity, diabetes rises Africa thanks to fast food. — Quartz

Obesity, diabetes rises Africa thanks to fast food. — Quartz

As the incomes have risen in emerging economies, quick service restaurants ranging from KFC and Pizza Hut at Yum Brands to McDonald’s, and Burger King among others have looked to capitalize on this. What this means is our Fattening of the Population theme is global in nature and is expanding past China into India and taking root in the Africa, which is now home to the fastest growing middle-class.

Rapid urbanization, population growth and expanding economies which swell the ranks of middle-income families, are leading to more Africans indulging in fast foods.

And like seen in more advanced economies, this has led to an increasing overweight and obesity levels across Africa.

A new report from the Malabo Montpellier Panel, a group of international agriculture experts, says African children are increasingly exposed to high-sugar, energy-dense, processed foods that are cheap in cost but lower in nutrients. Obesity among 7- to 11-year-olds increased from 4% in 1990 to 7% in 2011 and is expected to reach 11% in 2025.The change in eating habits is also seen among older middle-class Africans, who are increasingly desk-bound and are not engage in much physical activity such as sports.

Africa now has the fastest growing middle class in the world with current trajectories showing they will grow to 1.1 billion by 2060. Over the last few years, big fast food brands like Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Subway all set shop in the continent in the hope of taking advantage from the expanding middle class who have disposable income and a palate for processed food. Given that, an obesity epidemicis now unraveling in countries like Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, and Nigeria.

Source: Obesity, diabetes rises Africa thanks to fast food. — Quartz

The Burger King ‘Whopperito’ – More Marketing Fat Than Taste Sizzle

The Burger King ‘Whopperito’ – More Marketing Fat Than Taste Sizzle

If Burger King is looking to challenge Chipotle, it’s going to take a lot more than rolling up a Whopper and giving it a new name. Despite Chipotle’s setbacks, it’s claim to fame has been “food that is good for you” and that means Burger King needs to do more than design a new delivery mechanism with some flashy marketing. Until that happens, the Whopperito is more Fattening of the Population than Food with Integrity.

Burger King is taking aim at Chipotle, hoping to gain customers who love the Mexican chain’s burritos by offering a burger-burrito mashup called, the Whopperito.

Source: Burger King wants to steal Chipotle’s business with the ‘Whopperito’