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Plant-based menu items are infiltrating fast food, and meat-eaters are all over them

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By far, the largest opportunity for plant-based food adoption currently lies in the hands, and mouths, of meat-eaters, even though what they each represent may seem at odds.

ANNA KEEVE: Fast-food giants might be the last you’d expect to cater to plant-based eaters. Their businesses are centered around the very antithesis of vegan food: animal-based meat and dairy, made fast and made cheap. But over the last few years, fast-food joints have been making a concerted effort to add meat-free, plant-based, and vegan options to their menus. But the people actually opting for those menu items may surprise you.

Carl’s Jr. has the Beyond Famous Star burger made with Beyond Meat. Burger King offers its Impossible Whopper, made with the infamous “bleeding” Impossible Foods’ beef-like patty. Del Taco has the Beyond Avocado Taco, and now a host of other vegan and vegetarian options. Even cheap-beef juggernaut McDonald’s is in the plant-burger game with its recently released Beyond Meat-based, all-vegan McPlant burger, kicking off in the United Kingdom. And these are just to name a few.

Meat-eaters are, by a large lead, dabbling in plant-based fast food options. Nearly 40% of meat-eaters have tried a meat substitute at a fast-food chain, while only 15% of self-identified vegans or vegetarians have, according to new research from analyst firm Piplsay… Meat-eating Americans are increasingly motivated to swap animal products for plant-based doppelgangers for a number of reasons, the top being perceived health benefits, followed by the environment. ..

Eat Just, a top egg-replacement maker with its Just Egg product, is also continuing to partner with fast-food restaurants to meet what it says is a growing demand… “We are seeing that meat-eaters [and] flexitarians are interested in trying these options and [their] appeal goes far beyond meatless consumers,” Alexandra Dallago, a spokesperson for Eat Just, told Insider. said…

Vegans and vegetarians are in smaller numbers eating plant-based fast food from mainstream chains… some vegans really don’t want to support corporations that still profit from animal exploitation and thus don’t align with their own values…

There’s also the issue of cross-contamination, as many staunch vegans or vegetarians don’t like the idea of their plant-based burger being potentially cooked on the same grill as meat — although many fast-food operators have said accommodation can be made to ensure no cross-contamination…

By far, the largest opportunity for plant-based food adoption currently lies in the hands, and mouths, of meat-eaters. It reasons that fast-food chains, and the brands that are keystone to their plant-based offerings, continue to forge a symbiotic relationship, even though what they each represent may seem at odds. SOURCE…

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