If you're living a plant-based life, you've most likely heard of the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger. Even if you're not vegan or vegetarian, you have still probably heard of it! It has gained immense popularity in the past few months, and for good reason - it's delicious.
Beyond Meat scientifically engineers its products to smell, look, taste, and even cook like real meat. The burger is also supposed to "satisfy like beef," which I can definitely agree with. I reviewed it not too long ago here if you want to read more about the actual burger.
So what's the big news with Beyond Meat now? They have launched their famous Beyond Burger in all of A&W's Canadian locations. This is HUGE!! Having a delicious, vegan burger that is so accessible to everyone is a really big deal. This isn't some sprouty, chia-seed-tasting burger (not that there's anything wrong with those!) This is a burger that widely appeals to vegans, vegetarians, and even omnivores who are looking for a more health-conscious or environmentally-friendly alternative once in a while.
However, as great as this news is, there are some things you need to know if you are vegan or vegetarian. I hate to point out the flaws with this launch, but I want to help make ordering the burger as smooth as possible for you. Here's the rundown:
- The Grill Situation - The burger is currently being grilled on the same grill as the actual meat burgers. To some people this will be a huge deterrent, for others it won't be a deal breaker. There is a petition going around to make the A&W Beyond Burger entirely vegan, which you can sign here. Personally, I think that this complaint is valid, but I don't necessarily agree with it. The unfortunate truth is that many of our vegan food items come into contact with grills or surfaces that may contain traces of meat, dairy, etc. This doesn't take away from our beliefs or what we are trying to do for animals. It is impossible to be a "perfect vegan," and there is no point beating yourself up over something that is marginally non-vegan. It's important to look at the big picture here - a huge fast food chain has a great plant-based option and we should be dancing with joy! What do you guys think?
- The Bun Situation - The sesame seed bun and the gluten-free bun are both vegan. It automatically comes on the sesame seed bun.
- The Condiment Situation - The burger comes with mayonnaise, so you have to ask for it without if you want it to be vegan. When I ordered my burger today, I asked, "Can I have it made vegan?" only to be told "We can't make it vegan." A&W cannot claim the burger is vegan because of the grill situation, and it resulted in a whole conversation about it. So, if you don't want to have that conversation... simply ask for the burger without mayo! I thought I was speeding things along, but that wasn't the case. Also, the burger is a little plain because all that's left on it is lettuce, a tomato, and ketchup. It's still pretty tasty though. If you want to be extra, bring some Vegenaise from home.
- Is It the Same Patty We Know and Love? - The burger patty is thinner, and a little wider, than the store bought Beyond Burgers. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - just a difference that I noticed. I am sure they did this to help cut costs, but also to make it fill out the burger bun a little bit more. I found the taste of the patty to be the same.
- How Long to Expect to Wait - The timing for the burger is roughly the same as any other order. I expected to have to wait quite a while today, but the entire drive-thru process only took 6 minutes. This may vary by location and visit, though.
- It's not cheap - I got a combo, which I wouldn't do again because it ended up being too filling, and it was $12.42. I'd consider paying this occasionally, but as soon as Beyond Meat is available in Canadian grocery stores, I will most likely just cook them at home.
Overall, it's amazing for such a large company to carry a plant-based burger. While it is a little tricky for vegans to navigate, I think these issues will eventually be addressed. This is a great burger for vegetarians and meat eaters who are looking to cut down on meat consumption. It will also get rid of the stigma a lot of vegan food has attached to it. Until all of our cities get places like Globally Local, this is terrific option.
What do you guys think of this launch? Will you be trying it?