When is a burger not a beef burger? Well, when it’s a burger with the same look and texture and tastes better than the real thing? That’s what the makers of this latest fast-food trend are telling us and everyone, it seems, is climbing on the plant-based meat substitute burger bandwagon – and loving it! So much so that leading manufacturer Beyond Meat, the beef- substitute maker, posted a record-setting 192% rise from its IPO price of $25 per share in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Backing by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo Di Caprio helped the shares soar along with a growing consumer appetite for meat alternatives.
On the fast food front, America is leading the way in this new trend with companies like Burger King testing their plant-based burger in 59 restaurants in the St Louis area. Called the Impossible Whopper, the burger, which is said ‘to bleed like a real burger’ is flame-grilled like a regular Whopper, and comes with the standard tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles and onions.
International food giant Nestlé launched its new ‘cook from raw’ 100% plant-based burger in Europe. Part of their Garden Gourmet chilled range, it is made with natural protein from soy and wheat, without compromising on flavour, texture and cooking experience but giving consumers a different way to enjoy burgers and balance their protein intake and lower the environmental footprint of their diets, comments a spokesperson.
In South Africa, one company that has pioneered meat-free, plant-based products is the Fry Family Food Co which started making their nutritious products way back in 1991. At the time people thought they were crazy. “Plants that look and taste like meat, made in your kitchen? Okay, maybe we were crazy,” comments family member and International Marketing Director Tammy Fry Kelly, “but with passion and determination, great things did happen and now, a few decades on, the fully fledged second generation family business, a larger family (and a few grandchildren), Fry’s are streets ahead in supplying amazingly good tasting plant-based foods.”