Fast food giant CEO heralds launch of plant-based nuggets as ‘important next step’ in plans to deliver a menu where half the options are meat-free by 2030

Burger King has launched a new range of vegan nuggets across the UK, as part of the fast-food giant’s ongoing push to offer diners a 50 per cent meat-free menu by 2030.

The company, which is claiming to be the first fast food chain in the UK to offer a plant-based nugget, said the soy- and plant-based bites tasted “the same” as the meat originals that had inspired them.

It said the launch of nuggets would help it meet its goal, unveiled last spring, to offer a menu that was 50 per cent meat-free by the end of this decade in a bid to crack down on its greenhouse gas emissions.

Meeting the target will involve a significant shake-up of Burger King’s offering over the coming years, with a spokesperson for the company confirming to BusinessGreen there were currently just five meat-free items on the menu.

Burger King UK chief executive Alasdair Murdoch described the launch of the vegan nuggets, which will be supplied plant-based food specialist the Vegetarian Butcher, as a “significant milestone” for the company.

“The launch is another positive step in reducing our carbon footprint and driving innovation in our menus in response to growing demand for meatless alternatives and products with no animal protein in the UK,” he said.

The move comes less than two years after the fast-food chain courted controversy for launching a plant-based Rebel Whopper burger which was later revealed to not be suitable for strict vegans because it was cooked on the same grill as meat and accompanied by egg mayonnaise. The company subsequently launched a Vegan Royale burger that does not come into contact with animal products when prepared.

Burger King said the vegan nuggets, which will be available in restaurants from today, had been certified by the Vegan Society, becoming the third menu item on its menus to clinch the certification, after its french fries and the Vegan Royale.

The changes to the fast food giant’s menu are part of a wider push to achieve a 41 per cent reduction in its value chain greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

It is also part of a wider industry trend that is set to be highlighted over the coming month in conjunction with the annual Veganuary campaign. This week the campaign confirmed it expected to see record numbers of people sign up to its plant-based eating challenge, while more than 75 companies have also said they will seek to encourage their staff to curb their meat and dairy intake as part of the annual initiative.

Burger King’s announcement comes just a few months after Wagamamas claimed to have become the first high street restaurant chain to make over half its menu appropriate for vegans.

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