Dunkin’ is stretching beyond its donut origins as it introduces a new Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich. The chain restaurant rolled out the new $4.29 menu item at 163 Manhattan locations Wednesday, with plans for national availability in the future. Beyond Meat is producing the sausage exclusively for Dunkin’.
But before plant-based customers get too excited, note that while the sausage itself is vegan, the sandwich is not. The patty is topped with American cheese and egg. Dunkin’ CEO Dave Hoffman told CNN Business a fully vegan sandwich might be in the future. “Right now we’re targeting flexitarians,” he said.
Dunkin’s new sandwich is part of a trend of mainstream restaurants luring omnivores with meat substitutes as more studies indicate decreasing meat consumption is better for healthy bodies and a healthy planet. Sales of plant-based foods are up 11 percent in the U.S. this year, according to Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute. Financial giant Barclays predicts the alternative meat sector could account for 10 percent of global meat sales in the next 10 years, reaching $140 billion.
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are the two plant-based darlings of the fast food scene, as both create faux meat to be as much like the real thing as possible. Many restaurant chains have partnered with these companies over the last two years, including Little Caesars, Burger King and White Castle.
The sudden demand has strained Beyond Meat’s supplies, making the company struggle to expand quickly. “We were surprised in the interest consumers were showing in our products and that it turned on very quickly,” CEO Ethan Brown said. Investors have been quick to embrace the new faux sausage sandwich, pushing the stock value of both Beyond Meat and Dunkin’.
Image via Beyond Meat