A former senior Burger King executive has unveiled a game changing, 100% plant-based and meat free burger to smash up the £5 billion UK fast-casual food market. Tracy Gehlan, UK Managing Director of the rapidly growing Smashburger, with over 370 stores in nine countries, has developed The Alternative Burger from all natural, 100% plant-based proteins that can also be smashed on the grill.

This truly inclusive burger has been created to be eaten by literally anyone – from vegetarians and vegans, to the growing wave of flexitarians, healthy-eaters, meat-free Monday observers and customers who, for religious reasons, can’t normally enjoy a burger because it’s not Halal or Kosher. “Quite simply, the global demand for beef is unsustainable, says Gehlan. “As the market innovates to follow changing tastes and behaviours, no-one until now has produced – entirely in the UK – a credible, tasty, healthy and quality alternative from simple, bespoke, all-natural food ingredients including mushrooms, beetroot, kidney beans, chick peas, golden beet, bulgur wheat & soya beans. The market has seen limited and very standard vegetarian burgers on menus for several years now, but the key has been creating a product that has the ‘Wow’ of the contemporary burger build and a taste experience that people love and can be eaten by literally anyone,” The Alternative Burger has also been designed to satisfy everyday carnivores looking for choice, flexibility and classic burger joy. It looks like tender beef, cooks like beef – searing on the grill and offers a rich umami flavor and contains only 92 calories.

Importantly, the product aims to make headway in reducing the significant environmental impact of global beef production, which currently accounts for some 30% of the earth’s land surface and is responsible for methane emissions from a global cow population of over 1.5 billion. “Other meat-free options are beginning to arrive on our shores from overseas – some hindered by GM food ingredients – but we believe it’s important that the UK market now delivers this new, exciting and sustainable category both properly and swiftly. We will still sell beef for the time-being, but this is an important step forwards in a journey that the entire industry needs to take.”

So confident is the company’s management in the future of the category, it is the first anywhere in the UK to re-engineer its entire core offer to include 26 alternative menu items, including the acclaimed Triple Double Line-Up, an infinite amount of ‘Create Your Own’ (CYO) Alternative options and three dairy-free, vegan shakes. The new Alternative Menu will be offered together with the Smashburger core menu to all guests on arrival at their stores.

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Open letter urges the industry to follow-suit

Gehlan and Smashburger today issued a challenge to the fast-casual food industry’s leading operators – via an open letter – urging them, whether a small independent or a large nationwide chain – to extend consumer choice now and begin to introduce meat-free alternative burgers to their own menus.

“The clock is ticking on the environment and we can no longer think of this as something that might need to happen in the future. The customer is showing us the way and we must follow, so have you got what it takes to join us? Right now, the only other available meat-free burger options are from the Netherlands and the US, where the lead offering contains ‘heme,’ derived from the roots of soya bean roots and as a GMO is effectively grown in test tubes. The use of GMO’s is still not allowed in the UK, but the time for action is now,” said the letter from Smashburger (UK).

For more information on The Alternative Burger and to check out the amazing Smashburger menu, head to: www.smashburger.co.uk