Burger King UK’s new soy “Rebel Whopper” is not in fact suitable for vegans, as it uses real mayonnaise and is cooked on the same grill as meat burgers.
The Rebel Whopper, which is made with a soy mix, will be rolled out nationwide by January 8th, but vegans or vegetarians won’t be able to consume it. Sam Calvert, the head of communications at the Vegan Society, said that it “seems a missed opportunity,” claiming that vegan mayonnaise is “readily available,” and that it wouldn’t be hard to cook them separately.
Katie Evens, Burger King UK’s marketing director said that the burger was marketed more towards “flexitarians” – people who wanted to cut down their meat intake – and not vegetarians or vegans:
This really is a game changer – we wanted our first plant-based Whopper to replicate the indulgence and flame-grilled taste of the real thing as closely as possible, and we’re thrilled with the result. We’re delighted to satisfy the demand for this highly-anticipated product and finally bring the Rebel to the UK.
This angered some vegans online, who were disappointed at not having another item directed at them:
And it’s served with mayonnaise with eggs in. When every other fast food company is delivering actual vegan products it’s such a shame Burger King can’t be bothered to do the same.
— Donna Wishart – What the Redhead said (@genuineplacebo) January 6, 2020
The Rebel Whopper with a Vegan Patty is out today in the UK.
But it's cooked on the same grills as the meat ones.
Fucking brilliant. pic.twitter.com/GRaNq7Y1wr
— Kip (@kiphakes) January 6, 2020
Weak effort from @BurgerKing re: rebel whopper, wtf is the point bringing out a veg burger that's cooked with meat?
I'm not precious about cross contamination but I draw the line at my food literally being cooked in meat juices.
Get a new grill & change the mayo you cowards.
— seeds 🐹🐀 (she/her) (@seedsinthewaste) January 6, 2020
Despite the backlash, Toni Vernelli, international head of communications and marketing at Veganuary, defended the Rebel Whopper:
For all of the important issues that Veganuary – and most vegans – are trying to address through their food choices it makes absolutely no difference whether the plant-based patty is cooked separately or on the same grill as the meat. What does make a big difference to animals and the planet is when non-vegans choose a plant-based menu option, enjoy it and then order it again. And that’s exactly who Burger King’s plant-based Whopper is aimed at, flexitarians who want to reduce their meat consumption for health or environmental reasons, or are considering going vegan.
PeTA, the radical animal rights group, also stood by Burger King:
The Rebel Whopper – minus the mayo – is produced without harming any sentient being, it's a BIG WIN for animals. pic.twitter.com/FmZPTCnzKv
— PETA UK (@PETAUK) January 6, 2020
National File reported last month that Burger King’s actual vegan burger, the Impossible Burger, contained 18 million times the amount of oestrogen as a normal beefburger, and could cause males to grow breasts:
Writing for TSLN.com, Dr. James Stangle explains the chemical process used to create Burger King’s Impossible Burger, and alludes to the possibility that the engineered vegetable burger may be less healthy than a regular Whopper…
“The impossible whopper has 44 mg of estrogen and the whopper has 2.5 ng of estrogen,” wrote Stangle. “That means an impossible whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper.” He went on to compare the level of estrogen in the Impossible Burger to soy milk, writing that eating four of the vegetable burgers daily would result in a human male growing breasts…
In short, the Impossible Burger is a genetically modified organism filled with calorie-dense oils that can make a man grow breasts if eaten in sufficient quantity.