The biggest news for the vegetarian community in the last few days has been the debut of the Burger King Veggie Burger. It’s a big step—while some fast food restaurants offer veggie burgers, it appears this is the first that will be served nationally. On top of that, it’s considered a “permanent addition” to the menu and Burger King plans to actually advertise the burger on television. If the burger does well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see other fast food joints following suit.
I’ll be honest: this isn’t going to make me a Burger King customer. I may try the burger once to show some support for the product, but I’m not going to be driving through any more often than I am now (that is to say, never). I don’t think I’m the target audience, though. I think that having a veggie burger right alongside their beef burgers will help elevate the veggie burger in the eyes of the general public.
A few notes… while the burger was originally planned to be vegan and served on a vegan whole wheat bun, that’s only partially the case. The burger itself is vegan safe, but the bun isn’t whole wheat and has trace amounts of dairy in it (“natural and artificial butter flavorings,” confirmed to be animal-derived by Vegan.com’s Erik Marcus). If you’re lacto-vegetarian, than it’s not an issue, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re vegan. Personally, I think it would have been great if they made it a whole wheat bun, just from a health standpoint. The fast food diet is severely lacking in whole grains, and this would have been the perfect time to introduce a whole wheat bun as an option.
The new burger is served with a newly-introduced low-fat mayo (which you can ask them to hold) and, here’s the big one, vegetarians of all types should ask BK to microwave the burger rather than have it cooked on the same surface at their beef burgers (thanks to Erik for mentioning these suggestions).
While the fact remains that Burger King’s business exists mainly to sell meat products, I applaud Burger King’s decision to launch this product and put some advertising muscle behind it. I hope for it to be a hit, if only to give a long-term boost to non-meat sales in fast food restaurants and elsewhere.