Burger King Opens Its First 100% Vegetarian Location Called Vurger King
While the entire fast-food sector is shifting to offer vegan alternatives, Burger King remains at the forefront of the movement. The fast-food giant just announced that Burger King Spain will host a completely vegetarian storefront for one month in Madrid. The company spent years of plant-based development to create a plant-based menu for consumers. The vegetarian pop-up is created in partnership with Unilever-owned The Vegetarian Butcher. For the duration of the pop-up, the Burger King location will be renamed, Vurger King.
The menu will feature all of Burger King’s innovative plant-based menu items. Some items will still contain animal-based ingredients including mayonnaise, however, customers can ask for these ingredients to be removed from their order.
The plant-based menu will feature the plant-based Whopper, vegan chicken nuggets, and the brand new Long Vegetal the plant-based alternative to the fast-food restaurant’s signature Long Chicken Sandwich. While the Long Vegetal will feature a plant-based chicken substitute, consumers will have to ask for no mayonnaise to make the sandwich completely vegan.
The Vurger King storefront will last a month, but the collaborative restaurant aims to encourage plant-based eating throughout Spain and the rest of Europe. Over recent years, The Vegetarian Butchers have partnered with the international fast-food corporation to improve plant-based accessibility in the fast-food sector. This partnership marks the first time that Spain will see a plant-based fast-food establishment.
"We want to reach both people who base their diet on vegetable products and those who do eat meat but want to reduce their consumption," General Director of Restaurant Brands Iberia Spain and Portugal Borja Hernández de Alba told Entrepreneur Europe.
Spain’s first plant-based Burger King arrives in response to a sharp growth of vegan consumers throughout Europe. A new report publish by EU-funded SMART PROTEIN found that Europe’s plant-based food industry grew 49 percent over the last two years, reaching a valuation of approximately $4.2 billion. The report went on to record that more than 90 percent of Spain’s plant-based sales came from meat alternatives, showing a significant interest in plant-based protein alternatives.
“Finally, we can see the tremendous growth of plant-based food in Europe reflected in concrete numbers,” Senior Consumer Research Scientist at SMART PROTEIN Dr. Kai-Brit Bechtold wrote on the project website. “This report clearly reveals the huge increase in sales of plant-based food, providing a green light to the food industry to further pursue plant-based options.”
The Vurger King collaboration is the fast-food companies longest plant-based operation, but not its first vegan pop-up. Earlier this year, Burger King Germany announced that one location in Cologne would release a fully vegan menu for four days. As another extension of its partnership with the Vegetarian Butcher, the Cologne locations also featured the plant-based Whopper, nuggets, and Long Chicken Patty.
Burger King’s partnership with the Vegetarian Butcher now extends across 25 countries, providing plant-based alternatives to consumers worldwide. Through this alliance, Burger King offers the Plant-Based Whopper in China, the Whopper Vegetal in Mexico, the Vegan Chicken Royale in the United Kingdom, and more.
Within the US, Burger King is working with plant-based pioneer Impossible Foods to bring US consumers vegan proteins. Following the success of the Impossible Whopper, the two companies just announced the Impossible Chicken Nuggets debut in select cities including Des Moines, Miami, and Boston. Beginning on October 11, the plant-based nuggets will be available to customers for a trial period in the classic eight-piece menu option.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve teamed up with Impossible to make waves in the industry. In 2019, we became the first quick-service restaurant to serve the award-winning, plant-based Impossible patty and offer the iconic Impossible Whopper,” Burger King North America’s Chief Marketing Officer Ellie Doty said in a statement earlier this month. “So, it’s only fitting we’re the first global QSR to test the Impossible Nuggets. We’re excited to hear what our guests in the test markets think of this latest innovation.”