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Fast Food Plant-Based What's New

White Castle’s Impossible Slider Is So Successful They’re Making Limited-Edition Versions Now

With Del Taco, Qdoba, Burger King, and everyone else in fast food adding plant-based meat, it’s clear that vegan substitutes are the way forward for the industry. If that wasn’t enough proof for you, take a look at what White Castle is doing.

Photo courtesy of White Castle

The slider chain has been teaming up with Impossible Foods for a while now to create a ground-breaking vegan slider. Apparently, that partnership has proven to be such a big hit that they’re making limited-time offerings that feature the Impossible meat as part of their regular lineup.

For White Castle, that first Impossible Burger LTO is a BBQ Impossible Slider, which takes the vegan meat and slathers on barbecue sauce and crispy onions. It’s a pretty simple item, sure, but to add it to a lineup of BBQ sliders as part of an LTO speaks volumes as to how well the faux meat is performing for the chain.

To put that in context, test locations that ran the slider for White Castle saw a 250% jump in sales initially. Since then, sales of the meat-free item have been 30% higher than initial expectations, according to a Restaurant Business Online report.

More importantly, it’s huge that a fast food chain isn’t just creating a single meat-free burger alternative, but multiple using the same substitute. That shows how much this Impossible Meat is resonating with consumers, and if the trends are any indication, it’ll continue to dominate all of fast food for years to come.

White Castle’s OG Impossible Slider is still on menus everywhere, but the BBQ Impossible Slider will only be around for a limited time.

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Food Policy Health Plant-Based

NYC’s ‘Green New Deal’ Drastically Cuts Meat Bought For Public Programs

New York City is making historic moves in efforts to make their city both healthier and a better contributor to fighting climate change.

As part of their OneNYC 2050 initiative announced today, the city plans to make drastic cuts in the meat it purchases. That food, which is used for public schools, hospitals, prisons, and other such meal programs, is being replaced to improve health in these areas.

According to the New York City report, all beef purchases for these programs will be cut by 50%, while processed meat purchases will be eliminated altogether. Their explanation for choosing these meats over poultry and pork are as follows:

“Beef has a relatively high environmental footprint compared to poultry, pork, and plant-based foods. Beef cattle, managing manure, and manufacturing fertilizer produces nitrous oxide and methane, two climate-warming pollutants 298 and 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, respectively. Processed meat consumption is linked with increased risk of cancer and is often high in saturated fat and sodium which is linked with heart disease. This policy would offer health benefits to the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

These new policies are some of the most drastic in food policy history. While it does not ban beef or processed meats in the city (private companies can still sell it), it takes a huge step forward in the fight against climate change. By extending it to public programs like schools, hospitals, and prisons, it also ensures that a lot more people in the city get access to more nutritious meals.

Right now, there’s a lot of talking news about meat substitutes like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat that can be used to replicate beef and other animal products for environmental and sustainability purposes. While New York doesn’t explicitly say they’ll change to those, what they’re doing is the policy equivalent of what these plant-based purveyors are trying to accomplish.

New York City will put these practices into effect through updates to their Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program, as well as through executive action. Other new policies include phasing out single-use plastic foodware and cutting the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent over the next 10 years.

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Health Packaged Food Plant-Based

Next-Level Waffles Are Designed For Anyone Who Suffer From Food Allergies

It seems that processed sugar is unavoidable when you’re looking for something ready-to-eat at the convenience store. Even moreso when you’re trying to indulge in the sacred ritual known as breakfast while combating food allergens.

Swapples, waffles reinvented, is looking to change that for anyone suffering from food allergies yet seek the ambrosial delights of the time-honored breakfast cake.

Founded by Rebecca Peress, the waffles were created after she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and blood sugar issues. Her doctor provided a solution: to cut sugar completely from her diet.

It was then she became aware of how much processed sugars were found in the foods she ate daily, and wanted to create something healthy for folks that didn’t contain some of the most common food allergens (gluten, grains, wheat, dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and soy).

That’s when Swapples were born.

Made from Yuca root, vegetables, fruits, and spices, the waffles are certified paleo, vegan, and gluten-free.

The yuca root provides tons of antioxidants and vitamin C, says Peress, and is highly digestible and easy on the blood sugar. This makes them an ideal option for athletes, children, and anyone who experiences gut/autoimmune issues.

Swapples come in both sweet and savory options. Savory includes flavors like Everything (Bagel), Garlicky Greens, Tomato Basil. While sweet includes classics such as Blueberry and Cinnamon.

Essentially, the waffles were designed to go with any dish and can be used as substitutes for breads or simply by themselves.

Swapples are currently found in 130 stores in the Mid-Atlantic area and Midwest, and plan to expand nationally. You can also purchase the waffles through their online store.

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Fast Food Plant-Based What's New

Qdoba Is Adding Plant-Based Impossible Meat To All Of Its Restaurants Nationwide

Following a successful test run in Michigan, Qdoba has decided to add plant-based Impossible “meat” to all of its restaurants nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Qdoba

By May 28th, customers at all of Qdoba’s stores will be able to use Impossible Meat to make any of their items. There will also be an official Impossible Bowl and Impossible Taco that you can order.

This rollout is going to start on April 23rd, when locations in Brooklyn, Denver, and Los Angeles will start selling the plant-based meat. All other 730-plus Qdoba restaurants will follow suit afterward.

Qdoba’s version of the plant-based meat consists of pre-seasoned Impossible protein made with tomatoes, garlic, chilis, smoked paprika, and red onions.

The announcement comes on the heels of Del Taco’s own announcement involving plant-based meat. They just confirmed that Beyond Meat will be available in all locations nationwide by April 25th.

That combo of both Del Taco and Qdoba adding plant-based meat means that over 1,200 fast food restaurants will add vegan meat options to their menu over the next six weeks, dramatically increasing the availability of plant-based fast food items.

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Fast Food Plant-Based

An In-Depth Look At Del Taco’s Entire ‘Beyond Meat’ Menu, Launching This Month

Del Taco is gearing up to launching their groundbreaking Beyond Meat partnership nationwide, and it’s a whole lot more than just a couple of tacos.

Starting April 25th, you’ll be able to get Del Taco’s exclusive plant-based meat on just about any item on the chain’s entire menu. This includes everything from the Beyond Taco and Beyond Avocado Taco to Loaded Queso Fries and secret menu items like the Bun Taco. Swapping out something like steak or regular ground beef for the Beyond Meat, however, will come at a slight upcharge.

For those wondering on exactly how vegan the menu will be, Del Taco is taking precautions to minimize any chances of cross-contamination. Each location will have tools specific to handling the plant-based taco crumble, ensuring that anything that touches regular meat will not touch the Beyond variant. That ensures that items specifically designed for vegans, like the Beyond Avocado Taco, stay that way.

Del Taco’s nationwide partnership with Beyond Meat makes it one of the largest in fast food to have a permanent plant-based option. It also gives consumers flexibility to adapt their diet, whether it be for health or sustainability purposes, so they are able to cut meat out of their diet more often at an affordable price.

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Fast Food Plant-Based What's New

Impossible Whoppers Are Starting To Arrive At Burger King, No Joke

While it may be April Fool’s day, it’s no joke that the plant-based movement has widely taken over fast food. The latest chain to join the hype train is Burger King, who’s teaming up with Impossible Foods to make a meat-free version of their iconic Whopper.

Starting April 1st, Burger King’s first test of the Impossible Whopper will be rolling out in St. Louis, Missouri. 59 different locations in the area will offer up the plant-based take on BK’s signature burger. The flame grilled Impossible Patty will be served in standard Whopper style, with mayo, lettuce, tomato, white onions, pickles, and ketchup.

The Impossible Whopper will not be vegan by nature, however, since it contains mayonnaise as part of the build. Since the bun is vegan (based on Burger King’s website), however, you can get an entirely vegan version simply by removing the mayo.

For those wondering if there’s an actual April Fool’s joke here, the appearance of the Impossible Whopper is 100% happening. What may be considered a “prank,” though, is when those who order one of these burgers get tricked into believing it’s actually beef.

There’s no current timetable for how long the Impossible Whopper will be around in St. Louis. Hopefully, though, it does well enough to merit a nationwide launch in the near future.

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Fast Food Plant-Based What's New

McDonald’s Creates A Vegetarian Take On The Iconic McNugget

Following the viral buzz of their ‘McVegan‘ sandwich in 2017, McDonald’s has their latest plant-based take on a classic item for sale now in Norway.

Photo courtesy of McDonald’s

The focus of these “Vegetarnuggets” is all about the veggies, which you can see peeking through the crispy breading exterior. Produce on the inside includes chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, and onion. The breading on the outside uses ingredients like rice and semolina.

While they don’t have the exact same shapes as the McNuggets, these are the first meat-free take on a nugget we’ve seen coming out of any fast food chain. Sure, they are exclusive to Norway, but having a fast food nugget option made from vegetables would be groundbreaking in many other parts of the world.

McDonald’s Norway is refraining from calling these nuggets “vegan,” according to a representative, since they are cooked in the same fryer as other products that may contain cheese. As such, despite many current headlines suggesting the contrary, they are referred to as vegetarian nuggets.

Given how much buzz McDonald’s generates every time they create a plant-based item, though, there’s hope that these, or some version of them, could one day make it to the United States, and potentially even the rest of the world.

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Fast Food Plant-Based

Beyond Meat Is Coming To All Del Taco Locations Nationwide

As plant-based options continue to proliferate in the fast food industry, Del Taco has decided to take their Beyond Meat partnership and go national with it.

del tacoPhoto courtesy of Del Taco

As of right now, a few locations in Southern California and Oklahoma carry the plant-based taco meat. In a recent investor call, however, Del Taco CEO John D. Cappasola said that his chain would begin rolling out Beyond Meat to all 594 locations. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that this should be completed by the end of April.

While there are two official tacos (a vegetarian Beyond Taco and vegan Beyond Avocado Taco) available, customers can also swap out ground beef for the vegan crumble on any menu item for a slight upcharge.

This news makes Del Taco the fourth major national chain to incorporate a plant-based meat option nationwide. Fatburger, Carl’s Jr., and White Castle have already done the same, but with their variations on burgers.

It also shows that the plant-based movement is rolling with a full head of steam, and it’s only a matter of time before all of the major chains have their own vegan options.