Move forms part of fast food chain’s push to offer 50 per cent meat-free menu across its UK outlets by 2030

Burger King is taking meat off the menu at its flagship Leicester Square restaurant in central London from Monday, making it the fast food chain’s first ever fully plant-based outlet in the UK.

As part of a month-long trial that will last until mid-April, Burger King said it would only be selling food from its expanding meat-free range at the branch, including its plant-based Whopper and Vegan Royale burgers, as well as vegan versions of its Whopper and Chicken Royale burgers.

There will also be a further 15 new meat-free items on the menu, including a ‘Cheeze and Bakon’ burger, a plant-based ‘Bakon Double Cheeeze XL’, a vegan nugget burger, and ‘vegan chilli cheeze bites’, all of which are set to be launched when the outlet opens its doors on Monday.

A meat-free kids menu will also be available, as well as Burger Kings’ newly-launched Katsu burger range, the company revealed yesterday.

Burger King said it planned to test and monitor which meat-free items are most popular at the restaurant over the next month, with a view to making these available at its restaurants nationwide in the near future.

“The limited-edition menu is a direct result of our focus on vegan and plant-based innovation and goes hand in hand with our target of a 50 per cent meat-free menu by 2030, as well as our commitment to sustainability and responsible business,” Burger King UK’s chief marketing officer Katie Evans said in a statement. “We can’t think of a more fitting way to re-launch our new-look flagship in Leicester Square.”

The fast-food chain has rapidly expanded its plant-based food offer in recent years, having first launched a vegan Whopper burger in 2019, followed by a series of new items such as vegan nuggets and plant-based chicken alternatives since then.

Last year Burger King adopted a set of climate goals via the Science Based Targets initiative, including net zero emissions within its core business by 2030 and a 41 per cent reduction in its value chain emissions by the same date.

As part of its supply chain emissions target, the firm promised to “focus on meat reduction through expansion of meat-free menu offerings and sustainable sourcing of key ingredients including soy that must be independently verified”.

Animal welfare and environmental groups welcomed Burger King’s latest move to curb sales of meat-based products.

Louisa Casson, head of food and forests at Greenpeace UK, said the decision to trial a fully meat-free restaurant signalled a “tangible step towards their meat reduction commitment”, and urged other major food and restaurant businesses to follow suit with similarly ambitious efforts to expand plant-based offerings.

“It’s good to see they’ve responded to both public demand and scientific calls to offer a more meat-free menu, with wider and better choice for Burger King customers,” she said. “But the speed and scale at which climate-critical forests across Brazil and South America are being decimated by meat production means we need action from other businesses too. And not just trials in select restaurants, but across our high streets nationwide. All restaurants and supermarkets need to urgently shift their whole business models to reduce meat and dairy – and crucially they need to drop forest destroying meat companies from their supply chain too.”

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