You know meat free eating is hitting the heights when even traditional burger companies are coming on board. Grill’d, an Australia burger chain, enjoyed a Meat Free Monday last month, removing all its meat patties from the menu for 24 hours.
The company, which has 137 restaurants across Australia, decided to offer only plant-based burgers on April 15 to highlight its commitment to greener grub. It has already pledged that half its menu will be plant-based by 2020.
The move coincided with the launch of three new offerings, built around the vegan Beyond Burger: the basic Beyond Simply Grill’d; Beyond Garden Goodness, with beetroot and avocado; and Beyond Chipotle, with jalapeños and chipotle mayo. It already offers vegan “beef”, vegetarian and mushroom burgers. Plant-based options are continuing to make inroads into the meat market: Beyond Burger says that 86 per cent of its customers are meat eaters, and it wants its food sold alongside traditional meat products.
While Australia is renowned for its appetite for meat – last year there more than 1.1 billion visits to a burger bar – research commissioned by Grill’d shows almost 85 per cent of Aussies eat a meat free meal at least once a week, and more than a third of people would cut back on their consumption if tastier meat free options existed.
It also revealed that the younger generation are more tuned in to the needs of the planet, citing environmental concerns as their primary reason for eating less meat, while older diners are cutting back for their health. Meat reducers of all ages are counting down to the start of No Meat May, an Australian campaign that launches Down Under and worldwide on the first of the month.
Despite expected criticism from the meat lobby – mostly for taking meat burgers off the menu for the day, rather than offering them alongside the Beyond Burgers – Simon Crowe, who founded Grill’d in 2004, has no plans to curtail his commitment to promoting food that is healthier and less environmentally harmful than beef. Quite the opposite: as he pointed out, sales of Grill’d meat free offerings jumped by 100 per cent in the last year alone.
“This new launch is a part of Grill’d ongoing commitment to innovation,” he said. “We genuinely believe plant-based alternatives will form a huge part of the future of burgers, especially with our new menu selection of Beyond Burgers that taste just like beef.”