Across the world, consumers are more conscious of the environment, animal welfare, and their own health – but they’re still keen on convenience. As a result, vegan dining is making its way into the fast-food sector, the Canadian Press reports.
Referring to comments made by Robert Carter, the executive director of foodservice for the NPD Group, the publication highlighted how concerns over antibiotics in meat are pushing people to choose more plant-based fast-food options.
Antibiotics in Meat
Nearly 80 percent of antibiotics are now fed to livestock; they’re used not only to prevent and treat infections common in factory farms but also to enhance animal growth. This speediness to market weight gives producers additional production cycles in a calendar year, leading to bigger profits. But antibiotics in the food supply are linked to the growing antibiotic-resistant epidemic. Infections once considered easily treatable can now be lethal if antibiotics fail. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 23,000 people will die this year from antibiotic-resistant infections such as MRSA or C. diff.
Carter says health concerns aren’t the only drivers for the boost, though. Taste is also a significant factor behind the vegan fast-food boom.
Vegan Food ‘Really Tastes Good’
Vegetarian and vegan options, according to Carter, simply taste better now than they ever have before. “The innovation within the vegan meal categories has really improved dramatically,” he said. “It actually really tastes good.”
One vegan company, in particular, has helped to overhaul the meat-free category of fast-food. In April, Impossible Foods’ vegan Impossible Burger arrived at the U.S. fast-food chain, White Castle. Since its debut, sales have been higher than expected, with stores selling around 300 of the burger a day. One major food critic, Ryan Sutton, even labeled it as “a vegetarian burger for the people” in a review in May, adding that it works better in a fast-food burger than beef.
The Kosher-certified Impossible Burger has also graced the menus of the Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, the iconic California drive-thru Mel’s, major MLB stadiums, Disney’s California Adventure, Fatburger, Wahlburgers, and more.
But its not all about Impossible Foods. Its main rival, Beyond Meat, has also been making an impact in the fast-food sector. Earlier this year, the Beyond Burger launched at the major Canadian fast-food chain A&W, with great success. In fact, on the first day, the burger sold out completely in some locations. And early in August, it was revealed that the vegan “bleeding” patty is outselling the chain’s traditional beef burger in some Vancouver locations.
Over in Europe, the fast-food giant McDonald’s added the McVegan to menus in Finland and Sweden last year. And since then, it has performed well. At the beginning of the year, Orkla, the creators of the McVegan, revealed it had sold 150,000 of the burger in just one month.