Carl's Jr. Puts Plant-Based 'Beyond Burger' on the Menu
Back in January 2018, Beyond Burger's CEO and founder Ethan Brown seemed pretty assured that his plant-based meat products (especially his "bleeding" vegan Beyond Burger patty) would land at major fast food chains in the near future. “I'm very confident that's going to happen, because I think the consumer is turning so quickly,” Brown said in an interview with Entrepreneur.com. “Once we break the code and get to the point where it's indistinguishable from animal protein, I think you will see that shift.”
And, almost exactly a year later, it looks like his predictions are coming true. Today, Carl's Jr. announced that it's launching a burger made with Beyond Meat's quarter-pound patty—making it the largest national fast food chain to offer a Beyond Meat product. (In December, the California-based Del Taco expanded a test of Beyond Tacos made with Beyond Meat to 21 outposts. Meanwhile, White Castle recently inked a deal with Beyond Meat competitor Impossible Foods, maker of the Impossible Burger.)
The limited-time burger, dubbed the Beyond Famous Star, will be available from now through Thursday, January 31 at roughly 1,100 Carl's Jr. locations. And while the patty itself is completely plant-based, the Beyond Famous Star is vegetarian, not vegan; it comes topped with melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, sliced onions, dill pickles, special sauce and mayonnaise on a seeded bun.
“We know people are looking for options—in fact, roughly one-third of consumers identify as flexitarians—and we’re thrilled to partner with Beyond Meat to bring more delicious, irresistible flavors to our menu,” Jason Marker, CEO of CKE Restaurants (Carl's Jr.'s parent company) said in a statement. He has a point about Beyond Meat fans' flexitarian (a.k.a. plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat) eating tendencies. According to a Carl's Jr. press release, retail data from one supermarket chain this summer found that more than 90 percent of customers who purchased the Beyond Burger also purchased animal-based protein.