Burger King locations that are meat-free are expanding

Burger King locations that are meat-free are expanding ...

Several fast-food chains are leaning in to the rapidly increasing demand for alternative meats and other plant-based foods, while others are digging their heels into tradition and their reputation as a meat eater's paradise.

Burger King, a subsidiary of QSR International, has gone the other route, selling a plant-based burger since at least 2014, and just opened its first all-vegan restaurant in London's Leicester Square in March.

Before that, there were already vegetarian restaurants in countries such as Spain, Austria, Switzerland, and Chile.

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Costa Rica's Burger King Pop-Up Is Made From Meat

Except for Austria, these locations were meant as testing grounds for a wider meat-free rollout. The Whopper company is now focusing on a Central American country.

Burger King San Pedro will open on August 8 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The temporary store will offer vegetarian fare equivalent to regular Burger King stores such as the Veggie Nuggets, the Veggie Whopper, and the King Veggie Sandwich.

This location will be meat-free, but it will be vegetarian rather than 100% vegan.

In a press release, Burger King's decision to expand its plant-based offerings in San Jose Burger King derives from the high quality of its Burger King restaurants in the area.

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"Based on sales of the Veggie Whopper at the company's retail locations, Costa Rica is one of the best-performing plant-based markets in LAC [Latin America and the Caribbean]," Burger King said.

As in other countries, the restaurant will be available for a short period of time and serve as a prototype for what might be a permanent plant-based Burger King.

"We recognize the changing needs of our customers and our environment," said Burger King's global marketing director in a statement. "Our objective is to provide the highest quality meat-free meals to the broadest possible demographic intersection."

Is Fast Food the Future of Plant-Based Food?

As more people in Western countries strive to minimize meat consumption for a variety of reasons, such as health or the environmental impact, the stock of alternative meat manufacturers likeBeyond Meat (BYND) is still struggling to fill with newcomers to the market.

Fast-food stores, in turn, are responding to the growing demand with additional products. Back in March, Starbucks (SBUX) added its third shaken espresso with an alternative milk to its menu, while Shake Shack (SHAK) experimented with a new nondairy chocolate frozen custard at several New York and Florida places.

Peet's Coffee, a Starbucks competitor, released an entire plant-based menu, including four oat-based lattes, a vegan "egg" breakfast sandwich, and a Mediterranean flatbread with vegan smoked provolone cheese and pesto in the spring.

Lori Fulmer, Peet's Coffee's senior manager at Food R&D, said in a statement in March that plant-based meat, cheese, and dairy products are no longer available to consumers in the marketplace.

McDonald's (MCD), in turn, chose a different route and recently stated that it would suspend its long trial run of the McPlant due to low sales.

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