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 is the latest to address antibiotics usage in its beef

McDonald’s is the latest to address antibiotics usage in its beef

In the vein of better late than never, McDonald’s has announced it will join the ranks of KFC, Pizza Hut, Boston Market, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Subway and Panera in moving toward only using antibiotic-free meat at its restaurants. McDonald’s has already made this move with chicken and is targeting the same for 85% of its beef supply chain in the next few years. This doubling down is clearly part of McDonald’s move to appeal to consumers that are embracing aspects of our Clean Living investing theme, which will have reverberations across the supply chain that feed its 37,000 global locations.

McDonald’s said Tuesday that it planned to reduce the usage of antibiotics across 85 percent of its beef supply chain in the coming years, in a move designed to help curb the rise of drug-resistant bacteria.

The burger chain said it will begin working with its top beef sources to analyze and measure the current state of antibiotics usage and by 2020 would set antibiotics-usage reduction targets. Starting in 2022, McDonald’s will begin reporting its progress on the systematic reduction of antibiotics in the food it serves.

The chain has previously addressed antibiotic usage in its menu items. In 2016 in announced that it had removed antibiotics important for human medicine in chicken products in the U.S. and later expanded its efforts with stricter guidelines for its global suppliers.

McDonald’s is not the only company to introduce antibiotics usage policies in recent years. Other quick-service chains working to address this public health issue include KFC, Pizza Hut, Boston Market, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, which all have made moves toward only using antibiotic-free chicken in recent years. Subway has also joined such “clean” food-focused restaurant chains as Panera and Chipotle in working to eliminate antibiotics from its supply chain entirely by 2025. In 2016, In-N-Out Burger announced a phase-out of beef raised with antibiotics.

Source: McDonald’s to reduce antibiotics usage in beef

Panera highlights its focus on Cleaner food and drinks

Panera highlights its focus on Cleaner food and drinks

We are seeing more restaurant companies highlight their ingredient choices in the food and drinks they serve in their marketing campaigns. These companies are looking to build consumer awareness as they look to the growing portion of the population that are opting for foods, drinks, and snacks that are better for you. In other words, look to ride the tailwind associated with our Clean Living investing theme.
Recent companies looking to embrace this tailwind and distinguish themselves from their competition include Chipotle and to some extent McDonald’s, but Panera, as well as Yum Brands’ Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, were some of the early adopters. Panera, in particular, has made several strides in recent years to inform consumers about the ingredients in their offerings and in 2016 phased out artificial ingredients from its menu.
We suspect we will be seeing far more companies embrace this investing theme with their marketing materials in the days and weeks to come. Of course, it’s one thing to market that you have better for you ingredients, but a cheeseburger no matter how you make it is still going to be part of our Guilty Pleasure investing theme. Sorry, McDonald’s.


Panera is betting that customers want to know more about what’s in their food.

The restaurant chain announced on Tuesday that it has started identifying the amount of whole grain per serving, as well as the overall percentage of whole grain, on all of their whole-grain bread.

The strategy anticipates that health-conscious consumers will shop more at Panera if they have a better idea of what they’re eating and an easier way to incorporate healthy foods into their diets.

In 2016, the company finished phasing out artificial ingredients from its menu. Last year, Panera began disclosing the amount of added sugar and calories in its fountain drinks, and it introduced a new line of drinks with lower sugar and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or preservatives. Panera observed that customers were choosing healthier drinks.


Source: Panera wants you to know exactly what’s in its bread – 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

WEEKLY ISSUE: Confirming Data Points for Apple and Universal Display

WEEKLY ISSUE: Confirming Data Points for Apple and Universal Display

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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

Real Estate Questions as More Restaurants Venturing Into   Mobile Ordering

Real Estate Questions as More Restaurants Venturing Into   Mobile Ordering

On this week’s Cocktail Investing podcast, we talked about the accelerating deployment of mobile ordering that began with Starbucks and Panera Bread and is rippling through the restaurant industry. This phenomenon is starting to move past restaurants into convenience stores as evidenced by Wawa offering mobile ordering. Here at Tematica, we’re examining the creative destruction our Connected Society investing theme is having on commercial building demand, and our early thoughts are it’s not looking good for malls, banks, grocery stores and perhaps restaurants and convenience stores. Perhaps McDonald’s won’t be one of the biggest real estate owners in the next few decades?


With the delivery space worth billions of dollars and diners increasingly making decisions based on mobile ordering options, mobile and digital ordering as a whole have become a major revenue driver in the restaurant industry — so it comes as no surprise that some of the biggest names in the industry have invested in new mobile ordering technology.

Au Bon Pain, for instance, recently became the latest QSR franchise to debut mobile ordering options, with the launch of ABP Pickup — the company’s new line-busting, mobile order-ahead service. A

nd Burger King has been testing mobile payments in the Miami area, with sights on a larger scale rollout. According to reports, it’s likely there will be a national rollout of mobile ordering and payments in the coming months at BK.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s is racing to add mobile ordering services but is being slowed down by the massive scale of its business. Farhan Siddiqi, VP of digital experiences at McDonald’s, told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster that the company is currently building an initial ordering platform that will allow for continual updates with new technology and features.

Source: Simplicity For Smartphone Ordering Success |