Sorry to all those flexitarians who had thought maybe they would finally get the chance to eat at Arby’s. Contrary to some earlier reports, Arby’s will not be serving the Impossible burger and will remain dedicated to having the meats.
The non-controversy flared up this week when two vegetarian–based news publications wrote that Arby’s had been in talks about creating a sandwich using Impossible’s plant-based burger. They both cited a story from The Information earlier this month, but evidently seeing the news in a veggie publication was enough to make Arby’s president, Rob Lynch, see heme-based red. In an article published by Fortune today, Lynch recounted his reaction after seeing that potential change in direction:
Lynch recalled his momentary panic after reading the misreport. “Please, please, please say it isn’t so!” he quickly queried colleagues, who reassured their boss no one was exploring plant-based options.
Both the initial reports and Lynch’s reaction are totally predictable.
Arby’s talking with Impossible would make total sense as there is an ever-growing list of QSRs adopting plant-based meat alternatives, including Burger King, Carl’s Jr., White Castle, Del Taco, Qdoba and more. They all see sales of plant-based meat booming and are moving quickly to cash in. In fact, Burger King went from testing the Impossible Whopper to deciding to roll it out to all locations nationwide in less than a month.
And, sadly, in this modern political age, it wasn’t surprising at all to see how Lynch responded. This is, after all, the same restaurant chain that created a special vegetarian menu by serving the same sandwiches, just without the meat (good one, bro). Lynch was just leaning into what’s driving the company and reaffirming Arby’s meat marriage. This notion that you can only be one thing, and anything else is a betrayal, is rampant in today’s public discourse.
It’s silly. And dumb. And ultimately doesn’t matter. Vegetarians and flexitarians will have plenty of other fast food options to spend their money, and Arby’s will always have its meats.