Fast-Food Restaurants Permanently Removing Meat From Their Menus?

Meat products on fast-food menus will soon be a thing of the past.

By Joseph Farago | Published

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Meat and meat products have been an essential part of fast-food restaurants nationwide. The likelihood that all restaurant chains will ditch meat in the future is not promising, but many have changed their menus to offer more plant-based options. As different food chains embark on vegetarian and vegan options, the decision to remove meat has become a more popular trend in the restaurant industry.

One of the most prominent fast-food restaurants embarking on meatless menu options is Burger King. Last month, the chain decided to take its plant-based products to the customers and offer an entirely meatless menu to a busy store in London. The ambitious trial was a complete success for Burger King, with customers reacting positively to the plant-based choices. The restaurant chain plans to have 50% meatless options on its menus by 2030. Though this is just a proposal, many fast-food chains are starting to involve more plant-based options as it becomes a popular trend nationwide.

The Burger King trial was a success for a couple of reasons. One was that the London store provided an improved menu, with options that even meat-eaters would be interested in. A “chicken” katsu burger, which is a Japanese fried-food style, received glowing reviews alongside a vegan version of chicken nuggets. Another reason for its positive reviews was the location in a busy area of London. Since the store attracted many different types of customers, more people familiar with plant-based options showed up knowing the ingredients on Burger King’s reinvented menu.

Fast-food restaurants utilizing plant-based products come from an upward trend in vegetarian and vegan diets and the negative impact of meat production. Studies over the past few decades have shown a more balanced diet with a concentration of vegetables is healthier. Aside from our diet, less reliance on meat products is also imperative for our planet’s climate issue. The sheer amount of energy and carbon emissions that are released into the atmosphere from the meat industry is enough to cause concern. Even alongside the greenhouse gas issue, workers at these manufacturing plants are often mistreated with unsatisfactory conditions. If restaurants want more cost efficiency with less climate infractions, leaning toward plant-based options is a more sustainable avenue.

Though it seems unlikely for fast-food chains to go entirely vegan, chefs and restaurant-goers are starting to think otherwise. James Lewis, a food marketing and product developer for two vegan restaurants in London stated his assurance in restaurants pursuing plant-only menus in the future. As more fast-food restaurants incorporate vegan options, Lewis believes that executives will see how cost-efficient plant-based patties and sandwiches are. Ditching the expensive and often wasteful meat products could turn enormous profits for restaurant chains.

Fast-food restaurants worldwide are already altering plant-based options to wide customer satisfaction. In a Burger King located in Japan, a delicious Butter Croquette Sandwich is made entirely of potato instead of meat. As these menu items gained popularity, other chains have reinvented their dishes to include plant-based options in exciting, unique ways. Though it’s seemingly unrealistic for American fast-food chains to go completely vegan, incorporating more plant-based options is undoubtedly the way of the future.