From Fast Food to Fast Casual, Plant-Based Burgers Are Battling Beef

  • Hillary Bennetts Hillary Bennetts
  • Fitt
From Fast Food to Fast Casual, Plant-Based Burgers Are Battling Beef

Is there any food more quintessentially American than the burger? From coast to coast, Americans fill drive-through lines for them, load up their grills with them, and even order up pricey, premium versions at trendy fine dining restaurants.

But as the country becomes more conscious of its health and the environment, the focus is starting to shift from beefy, greasy burgers to sustainable, plant-based creations. Naturally, ranchers are pissed.

  • Veggies are getting an upgrade

    image via Beyond Meat | Facebook

    But don’t think a beef with ranchers is going to slow down this movement — it’s just getting started. You can bid farewell to the dense, grain-based patties and the freezer-burned mishmash of unidentifiable vegetables. Because now scientists are in on the game, and they’re working their lab coats off to concoct the perfect plant-based meat replacement.

    These meat-free mimics aren’t just for vegans anymore, either. Animal eaters are in on the trend, opting for more plant-based swaps to the protein on their plates. Yep, #meatlessmonday has become Instafamous. And with meat-free options becoming more convincing by the day, living a little healthier doesn’t have to mean sacrifice.

    Of course, increased demand for plant-based burgers does mean that restaurants of all kinds are responding to capitalize on the growth.

  • Bareburger is embracing the trend

    vegan burger meat
    image via @vegicano | Instagram

    Bareburger, the fast-casual burger chain known for its focus on sourcing only the highest quality organic meats and veggies is no stranger to keeping pace with health trends. After all, they were one of the first to add the innovative and trendy Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger to their menu alongside sustainably-sourced grass-fed meat burgers, like bison and beef. And recently, they announced that they’re dropping several exotic meats from their menu — they’re bidding farewell to elk, lamb, and wild boar.

    But they’ve realized that the meat-free movement has some serious momentum (we’re about $80M too far into R&D to call this a fad), and they aren’t taking a back seat. They’ve announced plans for an entirely vegan restaurant chain to open later this year. While the menu is still hush-hush, they’ve enlisted vegan chef Rudy Ramos as head chef, and rumor has it that you can expect creative and contemporary plant-based swaps like jackfruit, tempeh, and tofu. And with Chef Ramos (aka Chef Vegicano) at the helm, you can bet your Bareburger that the plant-based menu will be packed with flavor.

    With its new restaurant, Bareburger is betting on both vegans and meat-eaters filling its seats. It’s a much bigger risk than just adding a meat-free option or two to the menu. But even adding in a plant-based burger is a big step for some…

  • Even Fatburger wants to shed some beef

    vegan food
    image via @impossible_foods | Instagram

    When a restaurant as proud of its big, beefy burgers as the appropriately-named Fatburger decides to join the plant-based movement, you know it’s going to cause more than a few ripples in the industry. The fast food joint that embraces all things beef and rejects all things moderation is adding a plant-based burger to its menu. It has already started to roll out the trendy Impossible Burger at select locations across the country, with plans to expand it to all of its domestic restaurants.

    Lest we forget, this isn’t the first time Fatburger has tried its hand at a veggie burger. The first attempt flopped, but based on a super-successful trial run of the Impossible Burger at certain California locations, it seems consumer tastes are changing — regardless if you’re Bare or Fat.