You’re seeing it everywhere: Impossible Whoppers, Beyond sausage at Pizza Hut, eventually plant-based chorizo at Chipotle, popping up on fast food and fast-casual menus all over the place. It’s a plant-based bonanza! That trend isn’t about to plateau, at least not anytime soon. Piplsay, a consumer opinion company, polled 30,700 people across the United States to see what they really thought of these products on fast food menus, and it’s interesting to see how many people are starting to embrace the movement.
Above all, it starts with faux-meat awareness. How many people actually know about the availability of plant-based options at their favorite fast food restaurants? The answer: 71%. That means 29% of the people polled weren’t even aware that this was an option yet at many places. (People, where have you been?)
Of those who were aware of the products, 54% said they’ve tried them. Of that group, 21% who identified as meat eaters said they’ve tasted those items once or twice, and 18% of meat eaters said they’d eaten fake meat offerings several times (aka more than twice). Meanwhile, of the respondents who are vegan or vegetarian, only 8% had plant-based meat on repeat visits and 7% of them gave it a shot only once or twice. Are you surprised by those findings? If these stats seem backward—as in, it would seem more likely that non-meat eaters would appreciate and order a meatless burger more often than carnivores—consider the fact that, as Vox explains here, plant-based meat is designed for “flexitarians” and meat eaters to replace the meat that’s already in their diet. Not as many vegetarians and vegans are actively craving products that mimic the taste and texture of meat.
The remaining 46% of respondents said they were aware of plant-based fast food options, but hadn’t tried any of them. Of that group, 22% were flat-out uninterested in giving the vegan meat substitutes a shot. I know some people who are vehemently against plant-based meat for whatever reason, but I mean...you can’t really have an opinion about something you refuse to try.
Which fast food joint is serving the most plant-based meat? Of those who have tried it, 41% were Burger King customers. The rest of the fast food chains fall far behind, with Starbucks, Wendy’s, and Subway trailing in at 10% each. Dunkin’, Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, and Qdoba follow after that. It goes to show how beneficial it is to get in the game early; the Impossible Whopper was the first time many people had heard of Impossible meat, or plant-based meat at all.
In terms of satisfaction, 70% of those who tried vegan meat substitutes reported that they enjoyed the experience, and 60% said they’d eat them again. The remainder said their experiences were not so good (18%) and not good at all (12%). A lot more people seem to like it than hate it, which must mean it’s doing a pretty good job imitating beef—or providing a similarly satisfying experience, at least. If you haven’t tried it yet, admit it: aren’t you a little curious?