Burger King Israel will serve a vegan burger, nuggets developed by an Israeli startup
Israeli franchise operator Burger King is teaming up with a local food-tech company developing plant-based alternatives to meat to roll out meatless dishes starting this week at a pop-up branch in Tel Aviv.
Burger King Israel’s menu will include a plant-based Whopper, the American fast-food giant’s signature burger, and vegetarian “chicken” nuggets, the franchise announced Monday.
The food products were developed specifically for Burger King Israel by Israeli startup “Meat. The End” (MTE), a newcomer to the alternative protein space, founded in 2020. The startup’s stated mission is to solve the texture aspect of eating plant-based “meat” to make it closer to reality . MTE founder Dr. Yishai Mishor says that while many food tech companies, like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, have succeeded on the taste front, texture – the feel of the product in the mouth – has a lot of room. for improvement.
The not-quite-right texture of plant-based meat products is a “barrier to consumer satisfaction,” especially for meat eaters considering alternatives, Dr. Mishor told Big Idea Ventures on a podcast last year. He argues that the issue of texture is a “bottleneck” in the alternative meat industry and a barrier to mass consumption.
“It’s a very complicated process of taking a plant protein, which has its own shape and body, and turning it into something that looks like animal protein. It’s not an easy task at all,” said Mishor, who is CEO of MTE. Currently, in taste studies, “100% of [meat-eating] tasters can tell 100% of the time if [a product] is real meat or alternative meat, and the reason for that is mainly the texture.
MTE takes existing extrusion technology, the process of making a shaped object like a hamburger patty, and infuses it with proprietary steps throughout the production line to produce a Textured Protein Ingredient (TPI) or a textured vegetable protein (TVP), the building blocks of the plant. -based burgers. The result is a soy product that “looks a bit like Corn Flakes…and it’s the textured soy protein, the bits that make up the body of the burger,” Mishor explained.
In this way, MTE can not only manufacture its own plant-based foods with a self-proclaimed improved texture, but establishes its core business model, which is to license production technology to other food technology companies.
“The goal we set for ourselves was not just to improve texture, but to improve texture in a way that was effective and easily adopted by the industry,” he said. The solution “is cheap and doesn’t require too many changes in machinery, production line, etc.”
After filing for a patent in 2021, the company of a dozen food technologists, protein engineers and mechanical engineers, has positioned itself to provide a “package of patents that protect every product and sell[s] licenses for producers to use it,” Mishor explained.
And Burger King Israel is MTE’s first big customer.
The Israeli company’s plant-based Whopper and nuggets, dubbed “Veggie Kings,” will be available for the first time from Monday at a pop-up branch of Burger King at the Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv. The pilot will run for a week, after which the items will be on the menus of the franchise’s nine stores in Israel’s Gush Dan region by next month.
Burger King was among the first multinational fast food companies to launch plant-based dishes, starting in 2019 with a famous partnership with Impossible Foods which produced the Impossible Whopper in restaurants across the United States. Earlier this year, Burger King launched all-vegan restaurants in London and Vienna, and is preparing to open a vegan pop-up shop in Bristol this week.
As a local franchise operator, Burger King Israel has embarked on its own path to offer vegan alternatives. The franchisee was acquired this spring by Delek Israel, a conglomerate with significant stakes in energy, infrastructure and water desalination projects in Israel and abroad, and a major gas station operator and convenience stores in Israel.
Keren Kupermintz, vice president of marketing, commerce and business development at Delek Israel, which completed the majority acquisition of Burger King Israel in April, said that “the launch of the plant-based category at Burger King Israel is a strategic decision since, in our opinion, a large audience is looking for alternatives to meat – not only vegans, but also those who reduce their meat consumption, and this is a fascinating and developing trend in the global scale.
“The product development process took about two years, including the search for the ideal travel partner and a long series of fundamental, extensive and extensive market research and testing, in accordance with the international standards of the global brand” , Kupermintz said in a statement. statement. “We are proud of this important addition to the chain’s menus.
Mishor said MTE was proud to launch its products in the company’s first collaboration with an international food giant. He called the partnership a “tremendous achievement for our outstanding technology and science teams.”
Burger King first entered the Israeli market in 1993, leaving it briefly in 2010, with Israeli chain Burger Ranch taking over its restaurants. Burger King restaurants returned to Israel in 2016.