Burger King surprised meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike earlier this month when it started testing a new, meatless Whopper made with plant-based burger patties from Impossible Foods. Now, exactly four weeks after it soft-launched the vegetarian take on its iconic sandwich, the royal fast food chain announced it's working on adding the Impossible Whopper to its menu nationwide.
On Monday, Burger King revealed that because the Impossible Whopper test run had performed "exceedingly well" at locations in St. Louis, it's now preparing to launch the burger in additional test markets in the coming weeks ahead of a wider rollout across the United States before the end of this year. In other words, a burger made with a meat substitute was so popular that one of the country’s biggest fast food chains is gearing up to serve it from coast to coast. For fast food fans and non-meat eaters in particular, the move is a big deal.
“The Impossible Whopper is all Whopper, no beef. It’s as juicy, craveable and delicious as the original Whopper,” the company said in a statement. “Burger King Restaurants in St. Louis are showing encouraging results and Impossible Whopper sales are complementing traditional Whopper purchases.”
As of now, it’s unclear if Burger King plans to change or tweak the Impossible Whopper’s recipe based on customer feedback in St. Louis. A spokesperson told Thrillist that such information wasn’t immediately available. As we said in our review of the Impossible Whopper, it's remarkably similar in flavor, texture, and appearance to the original, but it might be lacking additional flavor because it's cooked well-done:
"The Impossible Burger, which has been juicy and served medium to medium-well at other places I’ve had it, was well-done here. As a result, it’s very one-note in its flavor and texture, lacking the depth I’ve seen before in those other burgers. That said, it’s not bad… it’s just not exceptional either. Texturally, it does resemble a real fast food hamburger, so if you’re just trying to get a burger without all the animal protein, cholesterol, and sodium, this will probably satisfy."
The review also raises an important question about the burger: "[T]he question shouldn’t be whether it tastes like a Whopper (it does), it should be whether it tastes good (not especially). The measuring stick for vegan and vegetarian dishes shouldn’t be how well they stand up to meat, but how dope they taste in their own right."
While Burger King could be the largest fast food chain to start serving Impossible burgers nationwide, it's far from the first. Restaurants all across the country -- from local spots to chains like Red Robin and White Castle -- serve burgers and other menu items made with Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat. Even Del Taco recently started serving a similar plant-based meat substitute from Beyond Meat. It's only a matter of time before other fast food giants like McDonald's and Taco Bell follow suit. You may end up eating, say, an Impossible Crunchwrap some day.
Who knows -- maybe one of these chains will beat Burger King to the punch with a wide rollout this year. The race is on.