A&W Canada has unveiled its first vegan burger. The limited-edition Jalapeño Lime Beyond Meat burger is plant-based as standard, not vegan-adaptable, as previous vegetarian launches have been. All of its more than 1,000 restaurants in the country will offer the burger. The new burger comes served on a multigrain bun and with a spicy vegan aioli.
A&W already serves a number of plant-based options, but the new Beyond Meat burger is the first entirely vegan sandwich on the menu. Previous Beyond items have proved popular, with the chain reporting supply issues driven by an inability to keep up with demand.
Putting vegan on the menu
A&W embracing vegan options comes after the success of former meat-free recipes. “The Beyond Meat Burger has been a fan-favorite since day one, and we’re excited to offer our guests a new, fully plant-based option with delicious, bold flavors,” Julia Cutt, director of brand communications and digital marketing, A&W Canada, said in a statement. “We’re confident the Jalapeño Lime Beyond Meat Burger will satisfy meat-eaters and plant-based lovers alike.”
Vegetarians were first treated to a Beyond burger in 2018. The dish has remained a menu staple. It has never been considered vegan due to not only egg-based mayo, but unverifiable buns. Variable supply chains have made it impossible to confirm ingredients of the bread. The 2018 launch represented Beyond’s biggest partnership to date. It served as the brand’s first foray into the Canadian market as well. 90,000 burgers were reportedly sold in just three days.
Morning to night menu options
Since partnering in 2018, A&W has launched numerous new Beyond menu items. 2019 saw a breakfast sandwich added to the roster, with a sausage patty served on an English muffin. In 2021, Beyond chicken nuggets were offered for a limited time. A&W looks set to continue developing with Beyond, now with fully vegan consumers in mind as well as vegetarians.
“Through the debut of the Jalapeño Lime Beyond Meat Burger, we continue to excite and delight consumers with mouthwatering, no-compromise plant-based options—this time with an all plant-based build,” Heena Verma, marketing director, Canada, Beyond Meat, said in a statement. “We are proud to collaborate with A&W Canada, our longtime partner, to make plant-based burgers that are better for people and the planet more widely accessible to Canadians.”
Canada’s meat-free revolution
Beyond is enjoying major popularity in Canada. The A&W partnership is mirrored by a similar agreement with Pizza Hut Canada. Joining the menu permanently, Beyond’s Italian sausage crumbles are available at all 450 locations.
While Beyond has, seemingly, cornered the fast-food vegan beef market, Lightlife is enjoying a growing plant-based chicken presence. In January, it was announced that 7-Eleven Canada has added the brand’s vegan chicken tenders to its takeaway food menu. More than 600 locations were announced as stocking the option. The news came shortly after both KFC and Mary Brown’s announced their own Lightlife partnerships.
KFC and Mary Brown’s have added Lightlife chicken to their menus, both focussing on sandwiches. It is worth noting that both chains have iterated that they do not label their disease as vegan, due to both preparation methods and sauces. In both cases, the vegan chicken fillets are cooked in the same oil as conventional chicken.
Lead product photo by A&W.