Meat alternatives are the hot new trend in the fast food industry. Recently, Burger King has been trialling the Impossible Whopper in the US, with McDonald’s planning to also enter the game with their own plant-based burger. What will this mean for the industry as a whole? Are ethical options compatible with the speed and convenience that customers expect from quick service? The arrival of plant-based burgers heralds an interesting time for the industry. We should expect to see some radical changes to our dining options in the near future. Restaurants taking the dive and developing their own meatless menu options early could see more potential long-term profit on the horizon.
But first, where does the demand for a meat alternative come from? By 2022, ethically created plant-based proteins are projected to reach 1.5 billion dollars in value. Education and awareness about food sources and animal welfare has influenced some younger demographics to veer away from meat products. This has created a clear opportunity for meatless alternatives to nab a portion from the livestock industry’s massive share. Currently, the two meat alternatives with the most popularity are Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.
A Sustainable Option?
That’s not to say that plant-based products are the be-all and end-all solution to worldwide problems like the climate crisis. One issue with the Impossible Burger is that it contains soy, which is considered a non-sustainable crop, though Beyond Meat is crafted from pea protein. Still, either choice are larger symbols of one of the many steps the fast food industry is taking toward reaching full carbon neutrality.
Everything has its Price
However, if the plant-based burger is a craze worth following, how can smaller franchises and independent outlets join in on the action? A large barrier to entry is that Beyond Meat and Impossible hold a tight grip on ‘realistic’ meat alternatives. The quality of ingredients are also quite expensive to produce and sell – each Impossible Whopper allegedly costs $4.50 to make! One thing smaller competitors can often compete against the larger fast food chains is price, and the possibility is largely diminished here due to the difficulty of developing a reliable profit margin.
However, Impossible Foods have announced that they will not be entering the European market. Burger King have instead announced that they will roll out a separate plant-based menu item, the Rebel Burger, across the continent. For smaller UK-based outlets, this opens up a possibility to compete on a more ethical front. If they can offer a similar quality option at an equivalent price, bigger UK franchises can be directly challenged.
In fact, given that the two most popular options in the US, as mentioned above, are made from completely different ingredients, this points to the possibility of businesses trying their own hand at an original recipe. The potential for variety could add a new dimension of competition, where independent restaurants may be able to offer ‘specialty’ or ‘homemade’ plant-based burgers.
How to Best Adapt
No matter how it may pan out, entering the plant-based market could end up being a necessary yet costly manoeuvre for burger restaurants and franchises. What if there were a way to shave off costs elsewhere on other processes? Cutting down the time spent on tedious repetitive processes, without sacrificing quality of output is absolutely possible. Bizimply is an all-in-one software designed for reliable and accurate attendance tracking through our dedicated Time-Station App for iPad. Attendance is recorded to the minute with a secure 4 digit-PIN, with live updates available to managers and business owners via an intuitive web portal.
This runs in tandem with other essential processes like scheduling, shift management, timecard approval for payroll processing and HR management. Streamlining these aspects with Bizimply will guarantee that your business is running as efficiently as it can while minimising cost. Learn more about how you can optimise your business’s labour costs with Bizimply here:
Overall, whether you like them or not, plant-based burgers and other meatless alternatives are here to stay. Top fast food restaurants are quickly adopting their own offerings to satisfy this newfound demand. It is up to the rest of the restaurant and hospitality industry to keep with the times. Coming up a new spin on the concept could bring in new business!