Vegetarians who visit Burger King will soon be able to have it their way.
The fast-food chain plans to offer a vegetarian version of its signature Whopper across the U.S. this year, following the success of the vegetarian burger's rollout in St. Louis earlier this month, according to CNN.
The new item, otherwise known as the Impossible Whopper, is supposed to "give somebody who wants to eat a burger every day, but doesn't necessarily want to eat beef everyday, permission to come into the restaurants more frequently," Chris Finazzo, president of Burger King North America, told CNN Business.
Burger King teamed up with startup company Impossible Foods to create an Impossible Whopper that consists of heme, a plant-based protein that imitates the look and taste of meat when cooked. The announcement marks a major expansion of the fast-food chain's strategy, as the demand for meat alternatives among consumers grows.
Several businesses, including Del Taco, Qdoba, White Castle and Carl's Jr., already offer items with meat alternatives, according to Vox. And one study by research firm MarketsandMarkets suggests that the meat-substitutes market is projected to reach $6.43 billion by 2023.
Burger King's latest move is also somewhat of a win for animal rights activists and environmentalists, who have long voiced concerns about the carbon footprint that humans leave when consuming meat. One Oxford study points out that meat and other animal products account for over half of food-related greenhouse gas emissions. Avoiding such products would reduce a person's carbon footprint by two-thirds, its authors claim.
While Burger King customers who are looking for healthier options may have something to look forward to this year, those who frequent its biggest competitor, McDonald's, may have to wait their turn — at least in the U.S. The world's second-largest fast-food chain has no plans to introduce a vegetarian version of its burgers to American consumers, despite releasing the McVegan burger and vegan McNuggets in Europe, Vox notes.
RELATED: Check out these Meatless Monday recipes:
Meatless Monday recipes
Meatless Monday recipes
Spicy thai-style grilled veggie skewers
"A cilantro-heavy marinade is the star in this versatile recipe for Spicy Thai-Style Grilled Veggie Skewers. An easy side-dish for a summer BBQ, these veggies can also take the center stage when served atop a bowl of rice or noodles." - The Wanderlust Kitchen
We're taking up our summer get-togethers up a notch with these vegetarian protein-packed nachos. Topped with chickpeas, Mexican seasoned-tofu and crunchy tortilla chips, this recipe only takes 25 minutes to make.
"It's been a curried lentil and barley kind of week. Unlike a pizza week or a taco week, a curried lentil and barley week means you're feeling inspired to finally be the Youtube fitness sensation you've always known you could be but." - Probably This
1/2 cup Sir Kensington ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup vegan mayo
2 tablespoons relish
1 cup chiffonade green leaf lettuce
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 slice American cheese (easily swap with your favorite vegan version)
Handful of pickle slices
2 (1/4 lb.) Beyond Burger patties
Salt and pepper
2 Sesame seed buns
2 tablespoons butter melted or your favorite vegan spread
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and combine
1. Heat up a griddle pan, brush the sesame bun with melted butter and place down into the griddle pan and toast the bun until golden brown. Remove the bun and keep warm.
2. Wipe the pan clean and add oil to the pan, place the seasoned patty in the pan and cook on both sides for 3 minutes each side.
3. When the patty is almost cooked through, add the American cheese and melt.
4. Spoon secret sauce on each side of the bun. Add lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. Place patty on top, serve
Easy Asian Salad
I think this is a really great base salad to get creative with, depending on what produce you find. I can see myself adding avocados, radishes, and even broccoli sprouts to it. Actually that sounds good on it's own. Maybe I'll make that soon." - Healing and Eating
"The secret to this ratatouille recipe is roasting the tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and onion all together rather than cooking everything in a pot. AND quality tomatoes. We used cherry tomatoes here, because when they roast, they get all wrinkly and sweet and bursting with tomatoey flavor." - The Woks of Life
"These are the perfect snack or light lunch when you’re hot and not in the mood to cook or turn on your oven. They’re super simple to make and can be done in less than 10 minutes. I know you’re eager to hear more."- The Healthy Apple
"A good focaccia has been on my to-do list for awhile now. I think there’s something irresistible about a salty, flavorful, crackly-topped focaccia with pockets of grassy olive oil and generous flecks of rosemary, dipped in a good sauce or all on its own." - Two Red Bowls
"Take your dinner outside with this Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad! Sweet potatoes caramelize on the grill and then mixed with black beans, charred corn, jalapenos, red pepper, onion and dressed with lime and cilantro. Try it hot off the grill or chilled – can’t go wrong either way!" - With Salt and Wit
"A Mexican favorite with a bit of a twist, replace the traditional shredded pork or chicken with seasoned spaghetti squash, black beans, Greek yogurt and all your other favorite toppings!" - Lemons and Basil