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Burger King Japan is ditching buns for its latest plant-based offering expansion. Instead of the classic toasted sesame bun, the new “Version 2” of the Plant-Based Whopper will use the actual vegan-friendly soy-based patties developed by Aussie food tech v2food to sandwich fresh lettuce and other toppings.
Burger King Japan is going bunless for its latest plant-based upgrade, with the fast food chain debuting a new “Version 2” Plant-Based Whopper throughout the country from September 2 onwards. The new 100% plant-based burger will replace the regular sesame bun with two of v2food’s vegan patties, sandwiching fresh lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup and mustard.
Vegan patties in all their glory
The Japanese franchise of Burger King, which is operated by Hong Kong-based private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners (AEP), will be the first to offer the double v2food patties as a replacement for the Plant-Based Whopper buns. The first version of the Plant-Based Whopper was released in Japan in early 2021, and in July, the chain added the option to top the veggie patty with avocado.
According to a report from Japan Today, the latest move to give customers the option to go bunless for the Plant-Based Whopper is to allow for a more “direct appreciation of the taste” of v2food’s vegan patty. The Sydney-based startup’s plant-based patty is made with no animal products, and contains soy protein, natural flavourings like parsley, thyme and onion powder, and is fortified with B vitamins.
Unlike locations in other countries, Burger King Japan does not add mayonnaise to the burger, making the option suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, though the patties are still cooked on the same grill as other items on the menu. The new bunless option is available for ¥690 for a single meal, and ¥990 for the set.
Burger King is going green
Other Burger King markets that have also opted to add v2food patties to their menu include South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and the latest to join is Thailand. V2food is likely to continue extending its QSR reach across Asia in the coming months, on the heels of its $54 million Series B completed in early August.
Some markets have chosen to partner with Unilever-owned The Vegetarian Butcher, which supplies the meatless patties in Burger King outlets across mainland China, Indonesia, Singapore, the U.K. and Europe.
Japan’s rising plant-based market
Burger King Japan’s decision to launch a “Version 2” comes as the country experiences a surge in demand for plant-based food. While the vegan trend was slower to catch on compared to more mature markets in the West, Japan’s plant-based scene is beginning to ramp up with numerous major food outlets expanding their meat-free offerings in recent months.
Late last year, the country’s largest home furnishing and lifestyle store, Muji, rolled out four meatless alternatives. Even Ippudo, the iconic Japanese ramen chain, is now working on more plant-based creations after launching a vegan tonkotsu ramen, and is reportedly considering turning one of its branches into a dedicated plant-based location.
All images courtesy of Burger King Japan.