- Dunkin' is offering a breakfast sandwich with Beyond Meat's plant-based breakfast sausage at select restaurants in Manhattan, according to a company press release.
- The company plans to roll out the sandwich nationwide in the future.
- The Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich features a Beyond Meat patty with a slice of American cheese and an egg on an English muffin.
With plant-based foods creeping into more menu offerings, finding an option that can attract consumers at breakfast time is a smart way to differentiate and compete with rival chains. McDonald's, which is a popular breakfast QSR, has remained relatively silent on plant-based meats, showing no signs that it will add options anytime soon. Dunkin's decision to add a breakfast item could help it draw consumers for this reason, especially since it's been a growing competitor for McDonald's during the morning daypart.
Breakfast also tends to be one of the more meat-heavy meals of the day when it comes to QSR offerings, which are centered around sausage patties and bacon in most cases. Dunkin's plant-based sandwich will likely help spur more plant-based breakfast innovations, especially if it becomes as popular as plant-based burgers. So far Dunkin' and Restaurant Brands International's Tim Hortons appear to be the only chains offering a plant-based option.
But some eaters who choose plant-based because they are vegan or vegetarian might have a bone to pick with Dunkin' for including a dairy-based item and an egg on the sandwich. The cheese and egg components of this sandwich would make the item a non-starter for this contingent of the plant-based crowd. Two of Tim Hortons' breakfast items also contain egg and cheese, while a third appears to only contain the Beyond's sausage patty alongside vegetables.
But appealing to the vegan crowd may not matter in the end. Plant-based protein has seen a meteoric rise since hitting the market and especially after Beyond Meat's IPO debuted at a market capitalization of $3.9 billion by the end of its first trading day. Many consumers are drawn to it based on the hotly debated assertion by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods that cattle are the primary contributor to climate change.
Competitor Impossible Foods, which also recently received new funding in the form of a $300 million venture round, was plagued with a production shortage recently that left a number of its new QSR clients in the lurch. Some fast food outlets may be hesitant to add new plant-based items from the provider until it can assured that it has ironed out some of the supply-side challenges that it faced. It has since explored manufacturing partnerships to help expand its offerings into things like plant-based fish products. That means the addition of plant-based breakfast options is not out of the question for Impossible, especially since its primary rival is now moving into the breakfast category.