The Bill Gates-backed vegetarian burger is coming to a national fast food chain
It will launch in eight of BurgerFi's 101 locations - Malibu, New York City, Poughkeepsie, NY; Philadelphia; Coral Springs, Florida; Coral Gables, Florida; and two stores in Delray Beach, Florida - according to The New York Times.
The California-based startup Beyond Meat is selling a burger - made mostly from pea protein, yeast extract, beet juice, and coconut oil - that looks and tastes similar to the real thing. The company has a long line of investors, including Bill Gates.When I tried the Beyond Burger in May, it sizzled like beef and boasted the same texture as a normal burger. Compared to other store-bought veggie burgers, which usually taste more like cardboard than meat, the Beyond Burger was the best. However, it wouldn't fool me in a blind taste test with a regular burger.
"Were not there yet, but were getting closer and closer," Brown said. Beyond Meat plans to come out with improved iterations of its veggie burger every year.
Brown said that he tells the startup's scientists, who work in the company's headquarters in El Segundo, California, that this is a "lifetime employment project."
Beyond Burger is already sold at certain Whole Foods around the country and at Veggie Grill, a small West Coast vegetarian chain that's preparing for a nationwide expansion. Its biggest competitor, Impossible Foods, sells its plant-based burger in some upscale fast-casual chains, like Momofoku and Umami Burger.
This isn't the first time that BurgerFi - a chain that focuses on traditional fast food like beef patties, hot dogs, and shakes - has added a vegetarian burger to its menu. In January 2017, the company debuted its VegeFi burger, made mostly from quinoa and lentils. Beyond Meat, however, hopes to make products that rival beef patties instead of other veggie burgers.At the NYC launch party for the Beyond Burger, Brown also announced that the company is also trying to create a plant-based bacon that's indistinguishable from pork.
"I have a pet pig, so I have a personal stake in this," he said.