It was unclear how Williams became aware of how Impossible Whoppers is prepared. Burger King advertises the plant-based burgers as "100% Whopper, 0% Beef," and notes on its website for the product that the burger is made with mayonnaise – a non-vegan egg-containing product. In smaller print under the description, the company says that guests who want a "meat-free alternative" can request that their Impossible Patties not be cooked at the slaughterhouse where beef and chicken products are cooked.
Williams claimed that Burger King where he bought his meal had no evidence to suggest that Impossible Whopper chops were cooked on the same grill as meat items on the menu or that it was an alternative to request a non-broiler cooking method. The lawsuit notes that there have been "many consumer complaints posted online" from customers similarly angry and surprised at the discovery that their meatless chops are cooked in beef or chicken fat. "Had plaintiff and other consumers known that the impossible meat used in Burger King & # 39; s Impossible Whopper was contaminated by meat by-product, they would not have bought Impossible Whopper," the suit claims.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial, compensatory damages and, inter alia, an injunction to stop the Burger King from preparing impossible carbs on the regular broiler.
Verónica Nur Valdés, a spokesperson for Burger King's parent company, Restaurant Brands International, said the company does not comment pending litigation.
When Burger King rolled out Impossible Whopper in August, some vegan consumers noticed that chain executives confirmed that Impossible patties would be cooked on the same slaughter chicken as chicken and beef, unless a customer asked otherwise. The company has never labeled the product as vegan in its advertising.
"We use the same preparation method," Chris King's Finazzo, Burger King's president of America, told Bloomberg News in August. “This product tastes exactly like a Whopper. We don't want to give our name to anything. It looks like beef, smells like beef, has the same texture as beef. "
About 90 percent of diners who ordered Impossible Whopper during the burger test run are meat eaters," Burger King, RBI Inc.'s parent company told Bloomberg News.
Matt Ball, a spokesperson for the Good Food Institute, which promotes the production of plant-based meat alternatives, said that while vegans may welcome the inclusion of animal-free alternatives in popular restaurants, they are not really the target of products like Impossible Whopper.
“The goal is not to give vegans a product. It's not like Burger King is advertising this, & # 39; Hey, vegans, here's your burger, & # 39; "Ball told The Washington Post. "It's aimed at flexitarians, people who look to eat less red meat. That's why they prepare it to provide the same culinary experience as someone who eats Whoppers."
Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, both of which produce plant-based meat substitutes are motivated by the environmental benefits of producing less meat, Sa Ball said. He said companies with a broad customer base aren't likely to appeal to vegan consumers, as vegans make up an estimated 1
percent of the US population – and that "vegan" as a descriptor has no particularly positive associations. In the eyes of consumers, it's even worse than descriptors like "diet" or "sugar-free," Ball said.