Photo by Sarah Oulman The Impossible Whopper and other plant-based alternatives are becoming more common at fast food restaurants, increasing options for vegans and vegetarians.

Sarah Oulman

Vegan and vegetarian options are increasingly becoming more popular among customers in the U.S., leading many fast-food giants and popular restaurants to offer more plant-based alternatives to traditional meals.

Burger King initiated the plant-based food frenzy among fast-food chains when it released the Impossible Whopper last August. The burger includes all of the toppings of a traditional whopper, yet features a vegan patty made from soy and potato protein.

“The Impossible Whopper is performing very well in our test markets, and it continues to drive new traffic to our restaurants,” Burger King spokeswoman Dori Robau Alvarez said in a statement with CNBC.

Following in Burger King’s footsteps, restaurants such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway and Little Caesars have all started to roll out new plant-based alternatives to some of their most famous meals. 

KFC also made headlines in August after it became the first fast-food chain in the U.S. to serve plant-based chicken alternatives. The “Beyond Fried Chicken” was available in one Atlanta location while it was being tested among customers when the vegan chicken alternative sold out in less than five hours. Despite the success last year, KFC has yet to release its plant-based chicken in stores nationally and announced that they will likely perform more tests in stores.

Hooters also became the most recent restaurant to join the plant-based meat craze, after announcing the launch of their new “Unreal Wings” this month. The restaurant has partnered with Quorn, which is a brand of meat substitute originating in the United Kingdom, for this release, and there is plenty of buzz online regarding the abundance of new plant-based options in the restaurant world. 

Lakeland also has many small, local restaurants that offer plant-based options, including Good Thyme Eatery, Victor and Mika’s Bakery and Kc’s Artisan Pizza and Wine Bar, all of which advertise their abundance of vegan menu items. 

Victor and Mika’s Bakery, which was established in 2017, is a popular produce stand and market with items that are 100% vegan. There are gluten-free and keto-friendly options available, and the market is most known for its vegan churros and cinnamon rolls. 

Kc’s Artisan Pizza and Wine Bar also offers vegan pizza options, as well as vegan garlic knots and other italian meals for anyone looking for plant-based options in Lakeland. Good Thyme Eatery, located in Dixieland next door to Concord Coffee, is best known for its fresh, healthy meals, including vegan and vegetarian options. The menu includes items such as vegan biscuits, acai bowls, poke bowls and more.

With plant-based foods increasing in popularity in the area and across the U.S., it’s likely that even more fast-food chains and local restaurants will begin offering plant-based alternatives. For now, FSC students can stop by the Buckstop for a black bean burger for a taste of plant-based meals on campus.


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