Burger King UK has revealed it is launching a burger featuring a meat-free patty in the UK from today.*
The Rebel Whopper features the patty from theVegetarian Butcher alongside lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle and non-vegan mayonnaise on a bun. (Mayo can be removed).
The burger has been branded a 'missed opportunity' by The Vegan Society, for featuring the mayo and because the patty is cooked with meat, meaning it will come into contact with residue and grease from animal products.
Burger King Rebel Whopper
"You asked and we listened. Introducing the Rebel Whopper, our first plant-based burger," Burger King UK posted on Instagram.
"Pick up yours exclusively with the app on the 6th and 7th and then available as usual from the 8th. T&Cs apply."
The advert itself states: "Product is cooked alongside meat products."
"A plant-based burger but they’ve put non-vegan mayo on it and are cooking it with the beef patties... what’s the point? Who’s buying this lol? Shame I was so excited when I saw it," one user wrote on the post.
"'You asked for it, we listened.' A plant-based burger that is neither vegan or even vegetarian? WHO ASKED FOR THAT?! Massive fail.," another said.
Another added: "Oh how sad the whole point of going plant-based is to avoid anything to do with animal products! What an UTTER FAIL."
'Not vegan or vegetarian'
Burger King told Plant Based News: "Whilst the patty itself is completely plant-based, the Rebel Whopper is cooked on the same Burger King broiler as our beef to provide our signature flame-grilled taste, so we do not label the burger as vegan or vegetarian.
"Also, like the classic Whopper, the Rebel Whopper does include mayonnaise so is not suitable for vegans – however customers can, of course, ask for theirs without mayo to have it their way.
"The burger patty is plant-based made from soy, but as standard, the Rebel is served with mayo which, again, has always been made clear in advertising and in the press release and the fact that the mayo has egg is very explicit in allergen information in-store and online. The labeling of the burger meets guidelines and again, has always been very consistent and clear on our side."
Not all vegans are worried about the cross-contamination risks of cooking plant-based food next to animal products (assuming there are no allergy risks).
Speaking about the issue, animal rights charity PETA says: "We urge vegans not to insist that their food be cooked on equipment separate from that used to cook meat; doing so doesn’t help any additional animals, and it only makes restaurants less inclined to offer vegan choices (which, again, hurts animals)."
*The burger is available exclusively with the app on January 6 and 7, and then available as usual from the 8.
**This article was updated on January 7. The headline was re-written, removing the words 'meat-free', and the description of how the patty is cooked was updated, and a quote from Burger King.