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.