In Brief

Burger King launches non-vegan vegan burger

The new patty is 100% plant-based but is cooked on the same grill as meat products

Fast-food chain Burger King has raised eyebrows by launching a plant-based burger that is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians.

The Rebel Whopper - a soy-based version of the popular Whopper burger - was launched in the UK on Monday, as tens of thousands of people give meat-free diets a try as part of Veganuary. But the new patty is only suitable for non-vegetarians, because it is cooked on the same grill as meat. 

Burger King says the Rebel Whopper is instead aimed at consumers who simply want to reduce their consumption of meat and other animal products, with marketing director Katie Evans describing the new offering as a “game changer”.

“We wanted our first plant-based Whopper to replicate the indulgence and flame-grilled taste of the real thing as closely as possible, and we're thrilled with the result,” she said.

But the Vegan Society has called the launch a “missed opportunity”, and has also criticised the use of non-vegan mayonnaise on the burger, the BBC reports. 

That view has been echoed by lifestyle blogger Donna Wishart, who has slated Burger King for failing to deliver “actual vegan products” when other fast-food companies are doing so.

However, Toni Vernelli, head of communications for the Veganuary charity, has defended the chain.

“Burger King is not trying to ‘capitalise on the vegan pound’ - it is catering for the growing number of flexitarians and meat-reducers. And this is something we should welcome,” she said. 

“The best way to create more vegans is by changing non-vegans. Increasing the availability of plant-based options, particularly those that are similar to meat and likely to appeal to non-vegans, is the best way to do this.”

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