Fake Meat Is Taking Off in Restaurants

Where’s the Beef? These veggie “Burgers” are made from Peas, Soy, Rice, and Mung Beans. What do you think-Yum or Yuck?


Photo Courtesy of Barrons.

There is such a rush to get vegan offerings onto the menus at quick-service restaurants that Impossible Foods, a top producer of plant-based meat, is struggling to keep up.


More restaurant partnerships are coming for makers of faux meat. That will mean continued pressure on producers, not to mention short sellers of stock in Beyond Meat, the most prominent publicly traded company focused on plant-based beef.


Bernstein food-research team reported that sales of beef sandwiches are flat over the past six years while sales of chicken and non-meat sandwiches have grown at a high single digit to low double-digit pace.


Impossible Foods, a privately held rival of Beyond Meat, has grown more than 50% since the launch of its Impossible Burger 2.0 in January. The Impossible Burger is now on menus in more than 9,000 restaurants, including Burger King.


FAT Brands (FAT- short for fresh, authentic, and tasty) has been selling the Impossible Burger for two years.


Vegan products are “5% to 10% of sales today and have driven customers to us,” said Wiederhorn, FAT Brand’s CEO.


Growth of vegan demand has created shortages of the Impossible Burger. The company is adding employees to its plant and is operating the factory 24 hours a day.


All this is happening even though McDonald’s with about 35% of U.S. fast-food burger sales, has yet to introduce a vegan burger in the U.S.


McDonald’s said it is committed to offering a variety of foods and listens to its customers to understand changing tastes, but it didn’t elaborate. The company sells a vegan offering made by Nestlé in Europe.


Sales growth for vegan meat in stores hasn’t kept pace with restaurant demand. Beyond

Meat and other makers of new vegan products have made most of their gains in retail.


It is possible that grocery shoppers are more price sensitive than diners eating out. New alternative-meat offerings sell for a premium to ordinary meat.


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