Burger King's meatless Impossible Whopper will soon be available nationwide

MLive file

Burger King's test of a vegetarian version of its signature Whopper was such a success, the chain is planning to roll the Impossible Whopper out nationally this year.

The Impossible Whopper is different from the Veggie Burger Burger King already offers, which used a MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Patty.

Burger King's Impossible Whopper - made from wheat and potato proteins - is going on the permanent menu after just a month-long pilot program in St. Louis, the company said on Monday.

"The Impossible Whopper test in St. Louis went exceedingly well and as a result there are plans to extend testing into additional markets in the very near future", the company said in a statement.

That philosophy has found the environmentally-friendly menu item a home at Burger King, alongside its flame-grilled favorites.

The vegetarian patty is designed to offer greater choice for meat lovers, rather than catering to those who have sworn off beef, according to Impossible Foods, which created the new meal.

Impossible Burger and Burger King didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

On April 1, Burger King began testing the new burger at 59 locations in the St. Louis area.

Burger King says it will start expanding the Impossible Whopper to more markets soon, with the goal of making it national by the end of this year.

There's public interest in plant-based protein because of concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of factory farming, and because some consumers are interested in reducing their consumption of meat for health reasons.

Globally, the meat substitutes market is forecast to grow to $6.4billion by 2023, up from an estimated $4.33billion in 2017, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

Beyond Meat, Impossible Food's primary competitor, thinks that the potential is bigger.

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