Customers are loving plant-based meat at fast food chains. That’s a big deal

Many of us have long seen the great potential that plant-based meat could have for the health of people and the planet, but the question was whether or not restaurants saw the same thing and would be willing to bet on fake meat. In the past month, two major fast food chains finally have, with Del Taco and Burger King trialing menu options made using plant-based meat. The trials were wildly successful, with both restaurants opting to make fake meat available at all its locations across America. That has now put the pressure on fast food chains such as McDonald’s to add meatless burgers to their menus. Climate-wise, fake meat is basically a no-brainer. Animal agriculture is responsible for roughly 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, of which beef is about 40 percent. Plant-based meats, which are derived from pea protein and in the Impossible Burger’s case, soy root-derived blood, offer a more efficient pathway to getting something akin to a beefy taste without beefy emissions. According to Beyond Meat’s IPO, its burgers produce 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use 99 percent less water, 93 percent less land, and 46 percent less energy. And although it’s a bit unexpected that fast food chains are the ones must eager to jump on the fake meat bandwagon, it actually makes sense. After all, the classic fast food burger isn’t something to be savored. It’s more something you shove your face into with reckless abandon, as Earther senior writer Brian Kahn eloquently puts it, which makes it the perfect vehicle for substitute meats.

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Customers are loving plant-based meat at fast food chains. That’s a big deal

Many of us have long seen the great potential that plant-based meat could have for the health of people and the planet, but the question was whether or not restaurants saw the same thing and would be willing to bet on fake meat. In the past month, two major fast food chains finally have, with Del Taco and Burger King trialing menu options made using plant-based meat. The trials were wildly successful, with both restaurants opting to make fake meat available at all its locations across America. That has now put the pressure on fast food chains such as McDonald’s to add meatless burgers to their menus. Climate-wise, fake meat is basically a no-brainer. Animal agriculture is responsible for roughly 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, of which beef is about 40 percent. Plant-based meats, which are derived from pea protein and in the Impossible Burger’s case, soy root-derived blood, offer a more efficient pathway to getting something akin to a beefy taste without beefy emissions. According to Beyond Meat’s IPO, its burgers produce 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use 99 percent less water, 93 percent less land, and 46 percent less energy. And although it’s a bit unexpected that fast food chains are the ones must eager to jump on the fake meat bandwagon, it actually makes sense. After all, the classic fast food burger isn’t something to be savored. It’s more something you shove your face into with reckless abandon, as Earther senior writer Brian Kahn eloquently puts it, which makes it the perfect vehicle for substitute meats.

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