UPDATE: Jan. 29, 2020: Tim Hortons announced Tuesday that it has removed all of its Beyond Meat offerings from its stores in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, according to Reuters. These were the last two markets where Tim Hortons sold Beyond products following its rollback of the plant-based burgers and sandwiches in September 2019. "We may offer plant-based alternative again in the future, but we have removed it from the menu for now," a spokeswoman for Tim Hortons told Reuters.
- Tim Hortons plans to scale back Beyond Meat products from its menu at most of its Canadian restaurant locations, reports BNN Bloomberg.
- It will continue to offer Beyond Meat breakfast sandwiches in Ontario and British Columbia, where it has received positive feedback. The remaining regions will offer the product only while current supplies last.
- This move comes just a few months after Tim Hortons brought the plant-based product to stores. It launched Beyond Breakfast sandwiches in June, and Beyond Burgers in July. The Beyond Burgers will be available nationwide, but for a limited time.
Despite Tim Horton's move away from plant-based fare, it seems unlikely that demand for plant-based foods will fade anytime soon. Still, it's possible that restaurants could continue to embrace this trend without bringing plant-based meat on to their menus. Taco Bell, for example, recently launched a dedicated vegetarian menu using ingredients that it had already provided. And though McDonald's U.S. is still mulling the idea of a vegan burger, its international divisions have already brought plant-based burgers to market without partnering with a major meat analogue company.
This strategy could prove a savvy one. After plant-based protein alternatives made a blockbuster appearance in the food world, restaurants, diners and retailers alike are starting to delve deeper into claims that products from Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are healthier than actual meat. Studies have shown that patties from Impossible and Beyond have nearly identical caloric value to beef patties, and contain higher levels of sodium.
A number of restaurant chains have been anti-plant-based meat since the start, including Chipotle, Arby's and Red Lobster, which have all made clear statements that they have no intention of adding meat substitutes to their menus. Chipotle is against the products because they are highly-processed — Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods burgers contain 18 and 21 ingredients, respectively.
It's unclear why Tim Hortons Beyond Meat products didn't resonate with consumers as expected. A spokeswoman simply told Reuters that "the product was not embraced by our guests as we thought it would be." This news comes on the heels of Burger King's decision to lower the price of its Impossible Whopper, and the chain's franchisees have reported they may be selling the product at a loss. Still, analysts believe there is still long-term opportunity for restaurants in meat analogues.