Burger King U.K.'s CEO says the chain's menu could be 50 percent plant-based by 2031. | Eileen W. Cho for LIVEKINDLY

Burger King Vegan Chicken to Launch in the UK

Burger King U.K.'s CEO says the chain's menu could be 50 percent plant-based by 2031.

Burger King vegan chicken options could be launching soon alongside a new and improved, 100 percent plant-based Rebel Whopper.

According to iNews, Burger King plans to launch a plant-based version of its Chicken Royale patty as part of long-term goals to reduce beef sales and curb carbon emissions.

The multinational fast-food chain’s UK CEO Alasdair Murdoch told iNews that Burger King is also working on meat-free nuggets and that the Rebel Whopper will return to menus as coronavirus restrictions ease in the coming weeks.

The original Rebel Whopper contained a vegan patty from the Vegetarian Butcher. But it also shared a grill with animal products and was served, by default, with egg-based mayo.

Much like similar options at other mainstream fast-food restaurants, Burger King’s Rebel Whopper targets flexitarians and meat-eaters looking to cut back on their consumption of animal products.

But according to iNews, Murdoch confirmed that the relaunched Rebel Whopper will be suitable for vegans, too. LIVEKINDLY reached out to Burger King for more information on this story but has not yet received a response.

Murdoch also indicated that vegan menu items may eventually replace much of the meat, and up to 50 percent of Burger King’s UK menu could be plant-based within a decade.

“When we bring in a plant-based product… There is probably an equal and opposite reaction where we are taking something else off,” he said. “Are there going to be less meat products? Ultimately, you would say yes.”

Why is Burger King expanding its vegan menu?

At its current scale, meat production is unsustainable, and cattle raised for beef and dairy have the largest impact on the environment by far.

According to a comprehensive study carried out by investment firm Blue Horizon, a kilo of typical beef mince generates $7.26 in environmental costs compared to just $0.48 for the same quantity of plant-based meat.

“Over time the amount of beef that we are selling as a proportion of our total sales is reducing,” Murdoch explained. While he did not rule out cultured meat as a potentially sustainable alternative to traditional beef, he indicated that Burger King will continue to emphasize plant-based options for now.

The news of the chain’s additional vegan options coincides with the launch of “Burger King for Good,” a transparent charter detailing corporate commitments “for the planet, guests, employees, and communities.”

In a statement sent to LIVEKINDLY, Murdoch said: “Now more than ever, we believe that fresh, good quality food is vital to the quality of our lives and the health of our planet.”

Burger King and sustainability

“Being good to the planet, our people and guests is central to our values at Burger King UK,” continued Murdock. “And despite the challenges faced by the pandemic, I believe this crisis has given us an opportunity tobuild back better’ and drive through our company values.”

Other sustainability targets from the charter include 100 percent recycled or certified packaging by 2025, 0 percent single-use plastic by 2025, and immediate adoption of the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) food waste roadmap.

Earlier this year, Burger King launched the 100 percent plant-based Vegan Bean Burger to coincide with Veganuary 2021.

Burger King is not the only fast-food company leaning towards a plant-based future. Last week, Beyond Meat announced its partnership with McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut to add its vegan meat to their menus around the world.