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Burger King’s Veganuary Whopper is not Actually Vegan

A step in the right or wrong direction?

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Burger King’s new burger – the Rebel Whopper – though marketed as ‘plant based’ is not actually suitable for vegans.

The new year means it’s time again for Veganuary – the month of the year when people try to go vegan for a month. Often in Veganurary corporations come out with vegan products to capitalise on the increased demand – particularly fast food chains.

2019 saw a growth in vegan alternatives in fast food restaurants. Notably, the introduction of Gregg’s vegan sausage roll last January began a snowballing debate. Some took to the news very badly (Piers Morgan, I’m looking at you) whilst others praised Greggs for their forward-thinking.

Burger King, at first glance, seemed to be following in their predecessors’ footsteps. On its website, Burger King introduced the Rebel Whopper in this way:

“The indulgent Rebel Whopper® consists of a juicy flame-grilled, 100% plant-based*, sustainably sourced soy patty topped with freshly sliced tomatoes, fresh lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, ketchup, crunchy pickles, and sliced white onions on a toasted sesame seed bun.”

You may notice the Asterix by “100% plant-based”. This is where the catch comes, as they add underneath:

*The Rebel Whopper® is plant-based; however, it is cooked on the same broiler as our original WHOPPER® to deliver the same unique flame-grilled taste. Due to shared cooking equipment it may not be suitable for vegetarians.

That’s right. Not only is the Rebel Whopper unsuitable for vegans, it isn’t even suitable for vegetarians.

Burger King marketing director Katie Evans argues this is the point, as the Rebel Whopper is aimed at ‘flexitarians’, those who are seeking to cut down on their meat consumption.

It’s safe to say the internet had some thoughts on Burger King’s choice.

At least this user seems to suggest the Rebel Whopper tastes good?

Others took to Twitter to praise Burger King.

Whilst the internet may have seen the move as flawed, the organisation behind Veganuary actually saw Burger King’s Rebel Whopper as a positive. They said in a statement that what ‘does make a big difference to animals and the planet is when non-vegans choose a plant-based menu option’.

I imagine the thought is that meat-eaters might try the Rebel Whopper, like it, and come back to it over a meat patty, in time cutting down on meat.

Whilst it still does seem like a bit of a strange move, you can’t deny there is a little logic to it.

But, Burger King, maybe next Veganuary, try releasing something actually vegan. Or vegetarian at least.

For more on the meat debate, how about checking this article out, on the battle between farmers and scientists when it comes to meat. 

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