Reading time: 4 minutes
Vegan meat and other plant-based alternatives have come a long way from their humble beginnings. Not so long ago, shoppers would be hard pressed to find vegan versions of many classic dishes. And once they stumbled upon it, vegan food was often not affordable.
Now supermarket chains are catching up and as a result more and more people are trying vegan and vegetarian foods. The change has also sparked conversation, leading an increasing number of people to abandon animal products altogether for ethical, environmental and health reasons.
And the fast food industry is no exception. Large chains like McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Subway, to name a few, want to take advantage of changing consumer habits and have launched their own plant-based products.
And while many diners would rather avoid such conglomerations (more on that in a minute), the likes of McDonald’s are best known for their accessible and affordable fast food, leaving smaller, plant-based brands struggling to compete.
Enter Ready Burger. The vegan fast food chain opened its doors last year in a bid to compete with the meat industry. And, to shake up the food system that has long pushed meat and other animal products at the expense of vegan alternatives.
He plans to do this by offering convenient, delicious, and budget-friendly versions of the classic fast food options that many people grew up with and fell in love with.
The 99p Ready Burger is a good example. The burger includes diced white onions, pickles, American mustard and Heinz tomato ketchup. And, most importantly, a meat-like but meatless patty made with mushrooms, soy, and oats.
Plant-Based News’ co-founder Robbie Lockie and social media manager Giuseppe Federici visited a Ready Burger restaurant in Crouch End, London to find out how it compares.
Does vegan fast food really taste good?
The verdict? It’s a yes from us.
“I absolutely loved the burgers. Huge 10/10 from me,” Lockie said. “No animal cruelty, dramatically reduced carbon footprint, and super tasty to boot. I can say with certainty that they are a much better product in many ways than global burger giant McDonalds.
“It’s like McDonald’s,” they continued. “The burgers themselves really taste and feel like a regular McDonald’s burger. And the whole place, and even the packaging, is styled very similarly.
The menu is equally ironic. Ready Burger’s Big Ready, for example, is an all-vegan version of the beloved Big Mac.
The plant-based food chain also offers cheeseburgers, chicken burgers, double bacon cheeseburgers, crispy chicken tenderloins, fries and its Texas Stacker. The latter comes with two grilled vegan patties, dairy-free cheese, lettuce, pickles, crispy onion rings, black pepper mayonnaise and smoky barbecue sauce.
A variety of dips, classic soft drinks and vegan soft serve ice creams are also available.
“Food hits that classic ‘happiness point,'” Lockie said. “It’s amazing. It’s the same feel of McDonald’s. It could easily replace conventional fast food.
“There’s absolutely no reason Ready Burger can’t become a huge organization because the products themselves are so good,” they continued.
“It offers the same experience, taste, price and speed as McDonald’s. But of course, it does not contain any animal products, which means it moves away from being inherently cruel like the big fast food companies.
Are fast food companies ethical?
Overall, the fast food titans’ plant-based launches have won consumer approval. When KFC UK launched its first vegan burger in 2019, the product sold out across the country. In fact, sales of the plant-based Imposter burger were 500% higher than its conventional chicken burger.
That same year, KFC US tested plant-based chicken nuggets, selling a week’s worth of chicken in just five hours.
But not everyone is rushing to try the meatless options. First, many fast food restaurants prepare their plant-based options in the same oil or on the same grill as their meat meals, which completely deters some plant-based diners.
Additionally, Lockie explains that “some vegans don’t want to eat food from these huge corporations because they’ve been profiting from animal cruelty for so long.”
McDonald’s, for example, started out as a small barbecue stand run by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in the 1940s.
But in 1952, the company was already preparing a million hamburgers a year. Today, McDonald’s is estimated to be one step closer to its 400 billionth hamburger sale.
There are no public figures on how many animals the chain slaughters to produce this amount of food. But on its website, McDonald’s reveals that due to the chopping and blending processes, a single batch of its beef can contain meat from more than 100 cows.
The mass production of foods of animal origin also has environmental disadvantages. Research indicates that beef is one of the most environmentally destructive foods on the planet, if not one of the most environmentally destructive, due to greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and of deforestation.
A pet-free solution
Wanting to circumvent these concerns, Ready Burger made an early commitment to prioritizing sustainable, cruelty-free products and processes.
As such, Ready Burger’s vegan beef requires 70% less water and 93% less land to produce compared to conventional beef. It is also responsible for 92% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
“Regardless of your personal stance, the reality is that many people eat fast food and are simply looking for easy, affordable choices that don’t compromise taste,” Lockie said. “Ready Burger already offers that, but without a lot of ethical implications. And I sincerely believe that it won’t take long for the general public to discover it too.
Ready Burger’s Crouch End location opened in May 2021 and the team welcomed their second location on London’s Finchley Road less than six months later.
The company’s third and fourth sites are expected to open early this year. Ultimately, Ready Burger is aiming for global expansion.
Those interested can visit the Ready Burger website for more information.
* This is a paid infomercial.