- Burger King Sweden is so confident its plant-based menu items taste like real meat that it's giving customers the chance to blind-order. Customers who order a Whopper or a Crispy Chicken sandwich from its "50/50 menu" may get a plant-based Rebel Whopper or Rebel Chicken King instead, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
- The packaging won't indicate whether a customer has received a real meat patty or the plant-based alternative. Customers need to use the Burger King app to scan the packaging with their smartphones and make a guess before the answer is revealed.
- "We are really proud of how hard it is to tell our plant-based burgers apart from real meat," Daniel Schröder, marketing director for Burger King Sweden, said in a statement. "With the 50/50-menu, we hope that more people dare to try them. And hopefully have fun trying to figure out which one they got."
It's too early to tell how many customers will feel adventurous about ordering plant-based foods at the chain, although a recent poll found that one in five Swedes under age 30, a key market for fast-food chains, is vegetarian or vegan, compared with only 9% of the broader population. Younger adults are eating more plant-based foods because of concerns about personal health and the environment. The growing preference for "flexitarian" foods has compelled rivals like McDonald's to expand its vegetarian menu to include the McVegan sandwich and a McFalafel meal aimed at children, according to Business Insider.
Because Burger King Sweden's marketing for the 50/50 menu is transparent, it will hopefully avoid accusations of tricking customers. A Burger King location in Brooklyn, New York, last month was revealed to be selling regular Whopper sandwiches to customers who thought they were ordering the meat-free Impossible Whopper on Seamless. The burger chain blamed the mess-up on a "technical error" and apologized for possibly confusing customers after facing consumer outrage, Eater New York reported.
By integrating its packaging with its mobile app, Burger King Sweden has the opportunity to collect valuable data on consumer perceptions about the Rebel Whopper and Rebel Chicken King. Because app users need to guess whether they received the plant-based foods or not, they are participating in what amounts to a blind taste-test. A high percentage of customers being fooled by the plant-based choices may indicate that they will be more willing to order them again in the future. However, strict vegetarians and vegans may not want to take the chance of ordering a meat-based patty.
Meatless burgers are gaining massive publicity with the $1.46 billion IPO of Beyond Meat, the maker of plant-based meats sold at Whole Foods Market and restaurant chain TGIF, among other locations. The company aims to capture a significant share of the $1.4 trillion global market for meat. The 13% market share of the plant-based dairy industry in the United States may indicate that the plant-based meat industry may be valued at $35 billion, MarketWatch reported.