Think beef is a necessary ingredient of Burger King's Whopper? Think again. The fast food chain is testing the Impossible Whopper, a version of the chain's signature sandwich that uses a plant-based patty instead of beef. For now, 59 restaurants in the St. Louis area offer the test item, Bloomberg reports. It's made with patties from Impossible Foods, which use heme, made from genetically modified yeast, to more effectively mimic animal meat. Other than that, it's the same as a typical Whopper—flame-grilled with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, ketchup, pickles, and onion on a sesame seed bun. But it will cost about a dollar more than the standard version. "People on my team who know the Whopper inside and out, they try it and they struggle to differentiate which one is which," Burger King's chief marketing officer tells the New York Times.
Bloomberg notes that BK already offers a more typical veggie burger using a MorningStar Farms patty, while most fast food chains don't offer veggie burgers at all. That includes McDonald's, though it did recently start offering vegan McNuggets in Norway. But Impossible Foods, which started out by rolling out its patties at more upscale burger joints including Umami Burger, made its fast food debut not with Burger King but with White Castle, which started selling the Impossible Slider across the nation at its nearly 400 locations last year. And the Times notes that Impossible Foods competitor Beyond Meat in January started offering a plant-based patty at more than 1,000 Carl's Jr. restaurants. Assuming the Impossible Whopper launch goes well, the CMO said a nationwide rollout is planned; that would mean 7,200 Burger Kings would be carrying the burgers. (See how BK recently trolled McD's.)