BREAKING NEWS

A New Frontier For Plant-Based Meat: Beyond Burger Will Hit Menus At A&W Canada

A New Frontier For Plant-Based Meat: Beyond Burger Will Hit Menus At A&W Canada
22 Jun
11:57
Beyond Meat

A&W Canada is the first restaurant chain in the Great White to put the Beyond Burger on its menu.

It’s a testament to how quickly food trends can evolve that meatless meat, which not long ago sounded like a product in a science fiction novel, has spread to the menus of some of the biggest restaurant names in America. Within the past year, category leaders Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat—which create realistic-seeming beef and chicken out of proteins from peas, wheat and potatoes—have put their burgers on the menus at White Castle, Umami Burger, TGI Fridays and Bareburger, to name a few.

That list is about to get longer. Beyond Meat announced Thursday that starting July 9, its burger will be available on menus at A&W Canada’s nearly 1,000 locations.

The news represents milestones for both companies: A&W Canada will become the first chain in the Great White North to carry the Beyond Burger (which is called the “Beyond Meat Burger” there), and because A&W Canada (which is a separate entity from A&W in the United States) is the second-largest burger chain in Canada, the move qualifies as Beyond Meat’s largest food service partnership to date.

“We’ve always focused on making this product available to the largest number of people irrespective of socioeconomic status or geographic location. We want to be available in as many places as possible,” Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat’s founder and CEO, told Forbes in a phone interview. “Being in A&W Canada puts us a step closer to that goal.”

After the July 9 launch with A&W, the Beyond Burger will be in more than 10,000 restaurants and food service outlets in North America. Combined with the company’s overall availability in grocery stores like Kroger and online outlets like AmazonFresh, Brown said, Beyond Meat’s presence will extend to 30,000 retail or food service outlets across the continent.

Though Canada is a particularly friendly market for meatless meats—a recent Mintel study found that more than half of Canadians (53%) eat meat alternatives and almost a fifth (18%) eat alternative products multiple times a week—Brown praised A&W for its willingness to take a chance on a menu addition of such a large scale.

“A&W has shown themselves to be a partner that’s willing to be first,” he said, noting that in the fast food or quick service restaurant space, there can be a conservatism to new product initiatives because a vast change across a large number of locations can be difficult. “A&W is forward-thinking enough and progressive enough that they’ve said this makes sense to do, [because it] wants to send a message around health and sustainability.”

A&W CEO Susan Senecal agreed with Brown’s assertion. She told Forbes that the company had been looking for “a number of years” at changes it could make to its offerings but didn’t want to settle for something that did not fit with the brand.

“This is something we had been looking for around the marketplace for awhile, and we were blown away by the flavor and taste and delicious ‘burgerness’ of Beyond,” she said. “And that’s why we moved quickly to bring it to Canadians.”

Canadians will be able to buy the Beyond Meat Burger for $6.99 or substitute the Beyond Patty for a beef patty in any other A&W burger for a $1.49 surcharge.

Though A&W does offer a veggie burger (and also currently has a limited-edition cod burger), neither Senecal or Brown thinks the addition of a plant-based (but “bleeding”) burger will create a sales war between a burger made out of veggies and a meatlike burger made from vegetable protein.

“As human beings we have a special relationship with meat. So I don’t see the day when people are going to be like, ‘I don’t crave the texture flavor and experience of meat,’” Brown said. His goal, he continued, is to create something that is more sustainable than beef, healthier than meat protein, but with the “same sensory experience they want.”

Time will tell whether the Beyond Meat Burger is a sensory experience that consumers across Canada want. But Brown isn’t concerned. “Our biggest issue to date is keeping up with production. We are overwhelmed with demand,” he said. 

He’s also not stopping in Canada. Beyond Meat says it is aiming to bring the Beyond Burger to more than 50 countries across six continents by the end of the summer.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2018/06/21/in-a-new-frontier-for-lab-grown-meat-beyond-burger-will-hit-menus-at-aw-canada/

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