Wendy’s Launches A New Bean Burger. And It’s Not Made With Vegan Meat.

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Wendy’s just added a new veggie burger to its menu—and it isn’t made using vegan meat. Instead, the company has created its own new legume-based Spicy Black Bean Burger. As the meat-free trend takes over fast food, the move to not use the Impossible or Beyond Burger could help Wendy’s stand out from the crowd. 

American fast-food giant Wendy’s has just dropped a new meatless dish: the Spicy Black Bean Burger. The veggie burger won’t be made with any “2.0” plant-based meat alternatives, but instead the brand’s own patty of blended black beans, chickpeas and spices. 

Wendy’s tops its new vegan black bean burger patty with lettuce, onion, tomatoes, jalapenos, chipotle sauce and melted cheese.

‘Turning the black bean burger on its head’

More fast food restaurants are now opting to work with food techs to add meatless items to their menus. McDonald’s and Taco Bell, for instance, have both chosen Beyond Meat. Burger King Canada is working with Impossible Foods. 

The move to ditch the use of any plant-based meat is part of Wendy’s plan to stay ahead of the competition. The Spicy Black Bean Burger—now available to diners in Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Penn., and Jacksonville, Fla.—is all about reinventing the classic veggie bean burger. For now, it’ll only be available in these three cities as part of its trial.

And it’s a good call as more consumers pay attention to clean ingredient labels. With rising awareness of health and nutrition, shoppers are scrutinising ingredients more carefully—and some are choosing to stay away from overly processed plant-based alternatives. 

“The Spicy Black Bean Burger is a culinary creation that turns the notion of a tasteless, texture-lacking black bean patty on its head,” said John Li, vice president of culinary innovation at Wendy’s. 

Targeting flexitarians 

By creating a new flavour-packed bean burger, Wendy’s is testing the waters with the mainstream flexitarian population. According to a global Euromonitor survey, more than 40% of consumers now consider themselves in this category. 

These consumers still eat meat and dairy, but only on a part-time basis. And not all of them may be craving something “meaty” when they’re choosing to eat a plant-based dish. Instead, a vegetable-packed patty might just be what they’re looking for.

Carl Loredo, Wendy’s U.S. CMO, says the company’s Spicy Black Bean Burger is for those customers “seeking bold ingredients and flavour innovation” on the iconic veggie menu item. “Consumers are demanding plant-based sandwiches, and we’re answering the call.” 

Lead image courtesy of Wendy’s.

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