Burger King’s expansion of Vegetarian Butcher patties in Latin America, China and the Caribbean shows that Unilever is serious about its aims to reach €1bn ($1.2bn) in plant-based sales. Burger King will supply Unilever’s Whopper patties in several developing markets at similar prices to its meat equivalent. This is a very positive step, as, according to a survey by GlobalData, consumers in these markets have become more concerned with the environment since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Ryan Whittaker, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The Chinese market is already extremely receptive to plant-based meat replacements, with over one in five saying that they’re buying less meat*1 and more meat replacements*2. In comparison, Brazil has over a third noting that they are buying less meat and 14% saying they are buying more meat replacements. However, accessibility, infrastructure and prices remain key barriers to South American consumers.”
Whittaker continues: “As Unilever double-downs on its plant-based sales, the company will need to find ways to bring this to markets where plant-based meat replacements are still in their relative infancy as a category. Partnering with Burger King to reach these markets at a similar price point to meat – and then transitioning to local meat-replacement production as demand increases – is a sound approach. Burger King is a household name and has spearheaded a lot of recent plant-based burger campaigns, aiming to attract those with flexitarian and reduced-meat diets.
“To put it plainly, consumers wishing to reduce their meat intake will buy products that taste good – especially if they are convinced it helps the environment and reduces the impacts of meat farming. Consumers globally want to buy from companies they think are making the world a better place.”