Over the past couple of years, a number of fast food restaurants have been catering to vegan and vegetarian customers with a slew of meat-free menu items. After Burger King rolled out a plant-based burger earlier this year, you might be wondering: Is the Impossible Whopper vegan? It all depends on the method of cooking and assembly, so vegans and vegetarians will want to keep a few things in mind when ordering the meat-less offering.
It's no secret that fast food chains have been slowly but surely catching up with their sit-down restaurant counterparts in recent years when it comes to expanding their selection of plant-based options. While I am not vegetarian, I am no stranger to Impossible patties and was pretty excited when Burger King began testing out an Impossible Whopper at a number of locations within the St. Louis area at the beginning of April 2019. Unsurprisingly, the test went well, and BK then rolled out its Impossible Whopper to include even more cities around the country. As of the past few days, it's now available nationwide, making it even easier for people who don't eat meat or who want to eat less meat to get a fast and inexpensive plant-based meal.
While the offering is a definite bonus for vegetarians, things get a little trickier if you're a vegan. From an ingredients standpoint, the Impossible patty itself is vegan-friendly, as you can expect your patty to be made with "mostly soy protein, potato protein, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and hemp," according to the Impossible Burger website. However, the preparation techniques that Burger King uses — which includes flame-grilling the patty and topping it with fresh slices of tomato, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, juicy pickles, and sliced onions — can pose some challenges to strict vegans.
While the burger itself contains no meat or animal byproducts, Burger King acknowledges that the Impossible patties are flame-grilled on the same broiler as its chicken and beef products, per its website. This means the meatless burger will likely come into contact with bits of meat and poultry as it cooks.
In an email, a representative for Burger King confirmed to Elite Daily that the Impossible Whopper is cooked in the same broiler as the chain's meat products. However, vegan customers do have the choice to request for their burger to be prepared in a vegan-friendly manner.
"Guests may ask for the Impossible patty to be prepared in the oven," the rep said. "However, since our restaurants have an open kitchen environment, we don't label the product as vegan."
In addition, you'll have to ask for the burger to be assembled on a different surface and without mayo in order for it to really qualify as truly vegan, and for it to not run the risk of cross-contamination from meat products. However, once you do those things, you can rest assured that you're getting a completely plant-based fast food offering that's a rare find for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone just looking to cut back on their meat consumption.