Plant-based foods and alternatives to meat have been available in limited offerings in restaurants across the United States for some time. Now they are increasingly being introduced by the big names in the fast-food arena.
The fast-food outlets are reacting to the booming plant-based food market. Eight in every 10 millennials are estimated to be working actively to cut back on their consumption of meat. They are among the fast-food chains’ main customers.Read More »
The company has been working with the chains themselves to develop food that is designed to meet their taste and quality demands.
Here’s a look at some leading fast-food chains that are breaking new ground in this field.
• McDonalds is to test plant-based burgers in eight restaurants across the United States in November. The fast-food icon hopes that the trial will help the company work out how making the burgers will affect its kitchen operations. The patty will be made with plant-based meat from Beyond Meat, which worked with McDonalds to develop a burger that is different from that offered by other fast-food chains or in stores, but resembles its regular burgers in taste and texture. The McPlant is said to deliver a distinctive taste that will appeal to its customers. The patty will be served on a sesame seed bun with all the usual toppings. If the plant-based burger proves popular, McDonalds likely will introduce a new line of plant-based items, including breakfast sandwiches and substitutes for chicken.
• Kentucky Fried Chicken
The fast-food chain is planning to add vegan chicken to its menu in the United States to meet the increasing demand for plant-based food options. In particular, younger people are the ones who are looking for more plant-based foods, the company says. KFC believes the trend is not a fad, but will continue growing in popularity well into the future.
The company has been working on the vegan fried chicken, which it has developed in conjunction with Beyond Meat for a couple of years.
KFC says it is using new technology that will develop a piece of meatless fried chicken that comes as close as possible to the taste and texture of the original KFC chicken strip or tenderloin. The chain has produced meatless chicken dishes in other countries, but the new offering will be the first in the United States.
• Panda Express
A new dish made by Beyond Meat is a plant-based version of the chain’s signature Orange Chicken offering. The meat-free dish, which is called Beyond the Original Orange Chicken, is being served in only a few select outlets in Southern California and New York City for a limited time.
The move is the next step in moves by Panda Express toward offering more plant-based options. The company says it is the first nationwide Asian restaurant to serve chicken developed by Beyond Meat. It bills the food as unlike any other plant-based chicken offering.
• Peet’s Coffee—a multibillion-dollar coffee roaster and retailer based in San Francisco— recently introduced a breakfast sandwich that is vegan.
Called Everything Plant-based Sandwich the breakfast meal contains a meatless sausage patty made by Beyond Meat, a plant-based JUST egg, and plant-based cheddar that is melted and placed on a thin bagel.
The sandwich is made without eggs, without dairy and without meat. It is fully vegan and contains 21 grams of protein. The sandwich is paired with a dairy-free variety of Oat Lattes. One of the lattes is called Horchata Cold Brew Oat Latte, which consists of oat milk and cinnamon sugar which are topped with cold coffee. Peet’s Coffee operates about 200 retail outlets in 11 states in the United States.
• 16 Handles
This frozen yogurt and ice cream chain is collaborating with Oatly, which produces oat milk, to offer vegan soft serve. The vegan ice cream comes in a large variety of flavors. Among the new flavors recently introduced are chocolate and chai tea.