You Can Try Natalie Portman’s Favorite Vegan Bacon at 550 Burger Kings
Burger King’s signature Steakhouse burger is a double-patty monster burger topped with crispy onions and slathered with barbecue sauce. So far, France is the sole country to deliver the Veggie Steakhouse, but when plant-based diners called the company out for forgetting the bacon, vegan meat brand La Vie stepped in to fix the problem. The French startup – backed by Natalie Portman – will supply its vegan bacon to 550 Burger King locations for a six-month trial period.
This month, a Burger King customer named Julien pointed out that the Veggie Steakhouse missed one of the most important ingredients: the bacon. The dissatisfied customer tweeted, “Sorry guys, I’m waiting for the Veggie Steakhouse with La Vie bacon." In response, La Vie launched a full-scale campaign to convince Burger King to partner to complete the Veggie Steakhouse.
La Vie purchased a full-page ad in the widely read Paris newspaper Le Parisien to call on Burger King to rectify the bacon-less mishap. The ad explained that Burger King could use La Vie’s expertise and help, and asks the major burger chain to reach out via email. The company also parked its “Love Truck” outside the Burger King storefront in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, so that customers could have their Veggie Steakhouses topped with the signature plant-based bacon.
“You must be really busy to miss Julien’s tweet,” La Vie responded. “In any case Julien, we loved your idea. Because yes, in the [original] Steakhouse, there is bacon. But in the Veggie Steakhouse, there is none … and as we find that a shame, [so] we put our snout in this business.”
La Vie is the Leading Vegan Bacon Market
Vegan bacon is rapidly etching out its place among the mainstay meat alternatives. Plant-based bacon sales are up nearly 25 percent, doubling in 2020 to a $267 million market value, according to Bloomberg. La Vie is capturing the attention of consumers and celebrity investors including Portman worldwide. This January, the plant-based bacon brand raised $28 million and intends to secure an additional $53 million to fund its United States expansion.
In Europe, La Vie opened its first “virtual restaurant” or ghost kitchen by partnering with The Original Food Court. The new collective will deliver customers a variety of dishes that showcase La Vie’s vegan bacon. Consumers can find these products through Deliveroo, Uber Eats, or Eatic.
“We’re bringing you the whole world of La Vie and our favorite ways of tasting our products, without moving from home,” La Vie wrote on social media. “A culinary journey into our universe, from your couch, surely the place where you feel best. The opportunity also to see or re-see that La Vie takes veggie into another dimension. Quite simply: Some people make recipes on Insta, others make Tiktok videos, we’re opening a restaurant.”
Natalie Portman’s Vegan Ventures
During the company's Series A funding round, La Vie attracted investment from Portman along with Oatly chairman Eric Melloul, BlablaCar CEO Frederic Mazzella, Back Market CEO Thibaud Hug de Larauze, and Vinted CEO Thomas Lodewijk Plantenga.
But other than La Vie, Portman is heavily involved in the vegan world, supporting vegan leather brand MycoWorks and dairy-free milk brand Oatly. Portman helped Mycoworks close a $45 million Series B funding round with John Lennon. For her Oatly investment, the Black Swan star joined Oprah and Jay-Z to help Oatly secure $200 million.
Vegan Burger King Worldwide
Burger King paved the path for plant-based fast food, standardizing vegan burgers when it teamed up with Impossible Foods to release the Impossible Whopper. Since then, the company has launched multiple plant-based partnerships and campaigns.
Last October, the major chain even opened its first 100 percent Vegetarian location called "Vurger King" in Spain. The chain teamed up with The Vegetarian Butcher to release several plant-based variations including the Long Vegetal plant-based chicken sandwich.
Another Burger King location in London offered a fully vegan menu for an entire month, introducing 15 new vegan options including Plant-Based Whoppers, Vegan Royales, Plant-Based Bakon Double Cheeeze XLs, and Vegan Cheeze & Bakon Royales. Burger King continues to lead the fast-food sector into the new plant-based territory.
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