Unilever brand The Vegetarian Butcher announces today that it has expanded its successful partnership with the Burger King® brand to launch the Plant-Based WHOPPER®, powered by The Vegetarian Butcher, in Latin America, the Caribbean and China.
In China, the Plant-Based WHOPPER® has today been launched simultaneously in 325 Burger King® outlets across Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hangzhou, with nationwide roll-out plans from Q2 2021. Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Suriname, Saint Martin and Saint Kitts are the first Latin American and Caribbean countries to add the Plant-Based WHOPPER®, powered by The Vegetarian Butcher, to the Burger King® menu; with more markets to follow throughout 2021. The news comes hot on the heels of launches across the Middle East and North Africa, marking The Vegetarian Butcher’s entry into UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Morocco.
Designed for ‘flexitarians’
The Plant-Based WHOPPER® has been designed specifically with flexitarians in mind: meat lovers who want to reduce their consumption, without having to sacrifice taste and texture. The Plant-Based WHOPPER®, powered by The Vegetarian Butcher, is now available in more than 35 countries across four continents. In EMEA, Burger King® expanded its menus in 2020 with Plant-Based Nuggets, also supplied by The Vegetarian Butcher.
In parallel, The Vegetarian Butcher recently launched via foodservice channels in Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. This has helped the brand further tap into the ongoing global surge in demand for plant-based foods as people around the world become more conscious of the impact of animal products on their health and the planet. The brand’s expansion into new continents follows a successful year in Europe, where The Vegetarian Butcher experienced strong growth across foodservice and retail, driven by its entry into 16 new European markets in 2020.
A brand on a mission
Hugo Verkuil, CEO of The Vegetarian Butcher, said, “One year on from the start of our partnership with Burger King®, we are delighted to bring our plant-based products into new markets in Latin America, the Caribbean and China. The Plant-Based WHOPPER® has proven a popular and delicious option for flexitarians and meat-lovers across Europe, and we are excited to take this into two new continents.
“The Vegetarian Butcher’s mission is to become the largest butcher in the world by offering amazingly tasty products and inspiring a food revolution that promotes more sustainable options. Today’s news is a significant step towards this ambition.”
Hanneke Faber, President of Unilever’s Foods & Refreshment Division, added, “Our announcement today marks an important milestone in our ambition to reach annual global sales of €1 billion from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives within the next five to seven years. It is also further confirmation of the huge global demand for high quality plant-based foods. Plant-based meat alternatives are growing at 15.8% annually1 as more people shift to a flexitarian diet worldwide.”
Matt Banton, Global Head of Innovation and Sustainability at Burger King®, commented: “The Plant-Based WHOPPER®, launched in over 35 countries, has been a real game-changer and become one of the biggest launches in the brand’s history. Innovation is one of our core brand values, and this launch is no exception. We are really excited about these additional launches in China and Latin America to provide our guests with this alternate WHOPPER®.”
The future of foods
Unilever has been expanding its plant-based meat and dairy alternatives business for several years by developing vegan versions of well-known classics, such as Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Magnum ice creams. The company recently launched an ambitious set of ‘Future Foods’ commitments, which aim to help people transition towards healthier diets and to help reduce the environmental impact of the global food chain. One of the key objectives of ‘Future Foods’ is an annual global sales target of €1 billion from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, within the next five to seven years.
1Polaris Market Research (2020)