“What [customers] don’t want to give up on is flavor,” Finazzo said.
The Impossible Whopper is supposed to taste just like Burger King’s regular Whopper. Unlike veggie burgers, Impossible burger patties are designed to mimic the look and texture of meat when cooked. The plant protein startup recently revealed a new recipe, designed to look and taste even more like meat. That version is being used in Burger King’s Impossible Whoppers.
Other fast food and fast casual items are also appealing to eaters with dietary restrictions or preferences. Taco Bell said in January that it’s testing out a vegetarian menu board in stores, and Chipotle recently expanded its line of diet-based bowls to include vegan and vegetarian options. “Lifestyle bowls” launched earlier this year with Whole30 and double protein meals in addition to the keto and paleo bowls.
Those promotions highlight items already on the menu at Taco Bell and Chipotle. The Impossible Whopper is new, and it costs more to consumers and to the restaurant. Buyers will pay about $1 more for an Impossible Whopper than a regular Whopper, Finazzo said, which will “more than offset the cost” of the Impossible protein.
Impossible products are served at nearly 6,000 US restaurants right now, but the Burger King partnership is a “milestone” for the company, said Impossible Foods COO and CFO David Lee.
“Burger King represents a different scale,” he said. Lee noted that as the company matures, it should be able to reduce costs for clients like Burger King.
“The only thing we need to be affordable and at scale versus the incumbent commodity business is time and size,” he said.