The plant-based meat prophecy is finally coming to fruition. Starbucks announced this morning that it would introduce a Beyond Meat, Cheddar, and Egg Sandwich in its Canadian stores beginning on March 3rd (h/t CNBC). The new sando will feature a custom Beyond Meat patty flavored with fennel, rosemary, and other herbs and spices. Pricing details were not disclosed.
As I mentioned, this morning’s news didn’t exactly come out of left field. The announcement came just a few weeks after the coffee giant’s Q1 earnings call, in which Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer stated that a plant-based breakfast sandwich would be coming to both Canada and the U.S.
Canada has become a sort of testing zone for QSRs who are eager to test out meatless meat. McDonalds, Wendys, and KFC all have done meatless tests up in the Great White North. At the same time Canadian fast-food chain Tim Horton’s, which was one of the early adopters of Beyond Meat, discontinued the plant-based option completely just last month.
That blip aside, plant-based breakfasts are catching on like wildfire here in the U.S. Dunkin began testing its own Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich (made with its own custom patty) back in August of last year, and quickly rolled it out to all stores nationwide. Burger King is also selling the Impossible Croissan’wich, featuring its new plant-based pork, at a limited number of locations.
The Starbucks news comes at a time when we were starting to wonder if the honeymoon was over between QSRs and plant-based meat. However, it looks like that statement may have been premature. Taco Bell announced yesterday that it would “definitely do something with plant-based protein,” and probably before the end of the year. And despite lackluster Impossible Whopper sales last quarter, Burger King is still going whole-hog on plant-based meat with the aforementioned meatless Croissan’wich.
It’s also encouraging that Starbucks isn’t debuting the Beyond Meat sandwich as a limited test or pilot program; rather, it’s rolling out as a permanent part of Starbucks Canada’s core menu. That shows a level of faith on the part of the coffee corporation that the meatless meat is going to be a success, at least in Canada.
What with the hint from Starbucks’ Q1 earnings call, I don’t think we’ll have to wait long before a plant-based breakfast sandwich makes its way south of the border. Until then if you’re in Canada next month and happen to try out, send us a note to let us know how you like it (and how it stands up to Dunkin’s).