(Updated December 11, 2019) | American fast-food chain Burger King just launched the vegan “Rebel Whopper” in Ireland. This is part of a wider European launch that will see the Rebel Whopper available in 2,500 Burger King restaurants.
Burger King launched the Rebel Whopper following the success of similar plant-based menu items in the U.S. and Sweden earlier in the year. Burger King EU is also launching the “Rebel Chicken King” – a plant-based “chicken” patty.
While the UK is not part of the Rebel Whopper’s initial rollout, Burger King has confirmed it will be available at a later date. A spokesperson for the brand said in a statement, “Burger King UK is not launching the Rebel Whopper just yet, but it will be coming soon. Some may say we’re fashionably late – watch this space.”
The Vegetarian Butcher produces the soy and wheat protein patties for the new plant-based Whopper. The Netherlands-based manufacturer was purchased by Unilever in 2018. The Vegetarian Butcher said that this deal enabled the company to take on larger contracts such as the Rebel Whopper.
“When I started The Vegetarian Butcher nine years ago, my goal was to be the biggest butcher in the world,” Jaap Korteweg, the founder of The Vegetarian Butcher, said in a Unilever press-release. “To create products for meat lovers, with the ambition of providing the same taste and experience, but plant-based.”
“Working with Burger King on the Rebel Whopper has been amazing,” added Korteweg. “We can’t wait for all Burger King guests to enjoy it.”
The Rebel Whopper is marketed as a plant-based meal rather than vegan as it shares a grill with beef burgers. Vegan consumers should also ask for the burger to be served without mayonnaise to make it free from animal products.
Fast-Food and Vegan Meat
The European launch follows the introduction of the “Impossible Whopper” in the U.S. earlier this year.
The Impossible Whopper features a plant-based patty made by Bay Area brand Impossible Foods. Burger King saw its sales increase by 28 percent in the month after the initial introduction of the new burger. The company is now trialing three new Impossible Burgers in the U.S., all using Impossible’s plant-based meat.
Burger King is cashing in on interest in vegan food at its restaurants around the world. In Brazil, Burger King is trialing the Rebel Whopper in 58 São Paulo locations.
A plant-based Whopper was also recently trialed at Hungry Jack’s – the Australian franchise of Burger King. Hungry Jack’s first trialed a vegan cheeseburger last year and the chain experienced a 50 percent increase in meat-free sales following the launch.
Burger King’s rival McDonald’s has also trialed a new vegan burger, the P.L.T., and recently announced it would launch “Vegan Dippers” in January 2020. The chain has experienced positive consumer response to its various plant-based products and previously sold 150,000 McVegan meals in one month during a trial release in Finland and Sweden.