Vegans who miss the taste of a big, juicy burger may have been thrown a lifeline.
BurgerFi, the North Palm Beach-based chain with more than 100 stores, will become the first national chain to sell the Beyond Burger, a plant-based protein that “cooks, looks and eats” like a traditional beef burger, its CEO said.
Stores in Coral Gables, Coral Springs and two in Delray Beach will be among eight test locations that on July 3 will begin selling the burger patty, which, when cooked, mimics even the look of red meat with beet juice. BurgerFi will also test the burger in Malibu, Calif., New York City and Poughkeepsie, and Philadelphia.
“When you put it on a plate with lettuce, tomato and all the fixins, wow, your mind really tells you you’re eating beef,” BurgerFi CEO Corey Winograd.
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The Beyond Burger and its major competitor, the Impossible Burger, have been in the news for more than a year with their burger that “bleeds.” But Beyond Meat, the company that invented the Beyond Burger, has had the backing of major players, including Bill Gates, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, not to mention the Humane Society of the United States.
Pea protein is at the heart of the Beyond Burger, whose patty is also cholesterol free and gluten free. It’s also aimed at environmentalists, who note the impact raising beef — land used has on the environment.
“Our partnership with BurgerFi, the first national chain to carry the Beyond Burger, is a major milestone for the company,” Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat founder and CEO, wrote in a release. “We are in the business of enabling consumers to enjoy all the deliciousness and tradition of a juicy burger while tapping into all the healthy upside of plant-based meats.”
Its competitor, Impossible Meats set out to create a meat using a plant-based molecule called “heme,” that makes their meat taste and look like cow’s meat.
Winograd said BurerFi tried several meatless proteins before setting on the Beyond Burger meat. It serves to complement their menu, he said, along with a quinoa-based vegetable patty, as well as their traditional beef burgers.
“We’re seeing a movement to go with plant-based options,” he said. “We’re still a burger joint. But consumers want this. And BurgerFi wants to be on the cutting edge of that.”
The burger will cost $8.27 in all their test restaurants. It can be had without cheese and vegan bread, as well as wrapped in lettuce, to make the meal completely vegan, Winograd said.