Burger King launches first plant-based burger in the UK – but it’s not suitable for vegans

Fast-food chain company says product is aimed at flexitarians

Olivia Petter
Monday 06 January 2020 08:55 GMT
(Shutterstock / donatas1205)

Burger King has launched a new plant-based burger in the UK, but the dish is not suitable for vegans because of the way it is cooked.

The Rebel Whopper comprises a patty made from sustainably sourced soya and was developed in partnership with The Vegetarian Butcher, which produces a range of plant-based meat alternatives.

The patty is topped with sliced tomatoes, fresh lettuce, mayonnaise, pickles, onions and ketchup.

However, the company admits that its new Whopper is cooked on Burger King’s “signature broiler”, where its beef burgers are also cooked. According to the fast-food chain, this means that the Rebel Whopper “has all the flame-grilled goodness Burger King fans would expect of the classic Whopper”.

Burger King has not advertised its Rebel Whopper as a vegan product, and says the dish is aimed at flexitarians – people who primarily eat a vegetarian diet but still sometimes consume meat and fish.

The Rebel Whopper is available from 6 January to those with the Burger King app and will be rolled out across stores nationwide two days later.

Katie Evans, Marketing Director of Burger King described the Rebel Whopper as a “game changer”.

“We wanted our first plant-based Whopper to replicate the indulgence and flame-grilled taste of the real thing as closely as possible, and we’re thrilled with the result,” she said. “We’re delighted to satisfy the demand for this highly-anticipated product and finally bring the Rebel to the UK.”

Toni Vernelli, international head of communications and marketing at the Veganuary campaign, added that the Rebel Whopper will still be valuable to those trying to eat a more vegan-friendly diet, despite not being 100 per cent suitable for vegans.

“For all of the important issues that Veganuary – and most vegans – are trying to address through their food choices it makes absolutely no difference whether the plant-based patty is cooked separately or on the same grill as the meat,” she said.

“What does make a big difference to animals and the planet is when non-vegans choose a plant-based menu option, enjoy it and then order it again. And that’s exactly who Burger King’s plant-based Whopper is aimed at, flexitarians who want to reduce their meat consumption for health or environmental reasons, or are considering going vegan.”

The Rebel Whopper follows the launch of the Impossible Whopper in the US, which was developed in partnership with plant-based giants, Impossible Foods.

But despite being made entirely from plant-based ingredients, the Impossible Whopper was also not suitable for vegans given that it was cooked in the same broiler as beef and chicken.

See all the latest vegan food launches from the last year here.

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