- Carl’s Jr. expanded its partnership with Beyond Meat with the addition of the Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger that will be available starting Wednesday for $6.29, according to a press release.
- The new offering was inspired by Carl's Jr.'s Western Bacon Cheeseburger and is being marketed as a flexitarian option. It will include original BBQ sauce, American cheese and crispy onion rings on a sesame seed bun.
- The company has sold more than 4.5 million Beyond Famous Star burgers since its December launch.
As one of the first QSRs to offer a plant-based protein product, Carl's Jr. is coming back for seconds and doubling down on the plant-based protein trend following the success of its Beyond Famous Star burger. Other restaurants have been jumping on the bandwagon as well. Just Salad cut steak from its menu in favor of Beyond Meat while McDonald's is finally coming off the sidelines to test a plant-based burger option with Beyond Meat in Canada. KFC also recently sold out of its Beyond Fried Chicken offering in less than five hours.
It's unsurprising that Beyond Meat's restaurant and foodservice revenues have skyrocketed 486% and that it plans to double its production capacity by the end of 2019. And it's not just Beyond Meat seeing a jump in orders. According to Grubhub, orders of competitor brand Impossible Food's Impossible Burger has jumped 82% overall this year as the platform has seen an uptick in vegan-friendly orders.
Fast food chains across the board are dabbling in plant-based menu offerings, but there are still a few hurdles to overcome before the segment takes over substantial market share. Beyond Meat dealt with product shortages in 2017 and 2018 and its rival Impossible Foods ran into a similar issue this year. Carl's Jr. could be taking a risk by doubling its plant-based menu offerings from the same provider as a result.
Some also doubt how long this trend will last. Millennials may be keen on plant-based offerings but they have little appetite for processed food products. A recent debate has also bubbled up regarding whether plant-based meat analogues are a healthy choice. On top of that, 98% of consumers who purchase alternative protein products are still buying meat.
Competition is also increasing in the plant-based segment — Impossible Foods' CEO told Food Dive that new entrants to the market as detracting from the company's mission due to what he describes as the poor quality of their offerings.
Not all QSRs have been signing up for plant-based partnerships, either. Tim Hortons recently became the first QSR to scale back its plant-based protein offerings, dropping Beyond Meat from many of its Canadian store locations and focusing its offerings in British Columbia and Ontario, where the products proved popular. Chipotle and Taco Bell have also indicated that they have no future plans to add a plant-based meat option.