Plant-Based Meat Loses its Luster at Fast Food Chains
Large Fast Food Chains Pull Back on Fake Meat
Beyond Meat’s (BYND) and Impossible Foods’ aspirations to transform the fast-food industry with fake meat are not panning out as hoped. Some of the nation’s biggest chains are pulling back spending on faux meat.
Dunkin Donuts (DNKN) has pulled Beyond Meat breakfast sausage from thousands of stores, while KFC (YUM) tested Beyond Meat’s chicken nuggets but never added them to the menu. Meanwhile, Burger King (QSR) is reducing spending on marketing for the Impossible Whopper.
The pandemic has changed the way Americans dine out and eat in. Comfort food and familiar meals are trending. Sales of plant-based sandwiches and burgers are flat in restaurants for the year as of June. Meanwhile, orders of beef burgers are up 12%.
Demand Better in Small Eateries
Earlier this year Beyond Meat’s stock got a boost after announcing a deal with McDonald’s (MCD) to become the preferred supplier for the McPlant patty. This is expected to be a boon for Beyond Meat. A full rollout in the UK and Ireland is planned for next year.
While plant-based patties have not been a huge hit in large fast-food chains, they are doing well with smaller chains. Epic Burgers, which has seven locations in the Chicago area, said sales of Beyond Meat’s burgers are better than expected.
Pandemic Hits Impossible
Impossible’s fast food debut has been hurt by the pandemic. Last year, Burger King pulled back on marketing which sent awareness for the Impossible Burger plummeting. Carrols Restaurant Group, which is the largest Burger King franchise operator in the country, said sales late last year fell by half since the Impossible Burger was introduced in August 2019.
Prior to the pandemic, plant-based meat was expected to take the fast-food industry by storm. But with consumers seeking comfort foods and familiar meals, those aspirations have been dashed. It will be interesting to see if tastes change in the coming months.
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