Plant-based food is showing up in places you’d least expect it like Burger King and White Castle. While trying to get healthier food to the masses, particularly to places and people with limited access to affordable and nutritious food is a noble task and certainly a start- there are two sides to the coin. On one hand, the more people eating burgers that are plant-based and better for them as well as the environment, the better. Impossible Burgers required 96 percent less land, 87 percent less water, and 89 percent fewer emissions than the traditional burger. The flip side is, these fast food establishments are making what should be a healthy food sort of unhealthy, and therefore could be deceiving consumers into thinking they’re eating better when they’re not. Is the marketing of these products deceptive? Will it be similar to when sugar-free and fat-free foods were introduced as a healthy alternative even when that was not always the case?
Burger King launched the Impossible Whopper in St. Louis, Missouri. It comes with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, onions, and a bun. They claim it’s exactly like the juicy beef patty, but without any of the meat. Impossible Burger was created because of the enormous ethical health and environmental costs of meat, but they believe consumers would only make a change if they had a product that satisfied their cravings for beef. They wanted to deliver “everything that meat lovers care about”. It is pretty obvious Burger King wasn’t trying to give people a healthy alternative to the traditional whopper as it is still covered in mayo and on a bun. So who is Burger King targeting and is this all just a PR spin? Will they be as successful in 7,200 locations across the US as it was when it was piloted in St. Louis?
Beyond Meat is another plant-based protein from peas and beet juice to give its burgers a bloody look and has been called the best IPO of 2019, up more than 500 percent. Their first-ever earnings report as a public company in June surpassed expectations. You can find their burgers at Carl Jr’s, and TGI Fridays. Do these restaurants match up with their mission to solve four growing issues attributed to livestock production: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources and animal welfare? Or is it inauthentic?
These products have been so popular so far they are actually experiencing production shortages and the industry is questioning if Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger can keep up with the demand. I’ve seen people be intrigued by the burgers and want to taste them, but will they purchase them more than once and is a Burger King or Carl Jr’s really the right place to be selling them? Our tool I-Factor® can help you find out. With I-Factor we talk to consumers who eat at these places and get a numerical score to truly understand how connected they feel to each brand with quantifiable data and quickly unlock the consumer subconscious to find the why behind the buy. It can also help you predict success in specific markets, helping with both sales and distribution.
For your brand to reach its potential you need to really know your consumers from a data, insights and real-time social listening perspective. Want to learn more? Let’s talk.