“I’m so excited. You’re the first person I’ve talked to about this,” says Arby’s chief marketing officer, Jim Taylor. “I’ve been working behind the scenes for three months.”
In this moment, I cannot possibly anticipate what Taylor, who leads menu development at Arby’s, is going to tell me next.
“People love meat already. What Americans have a harder time doing is enjoying vegetables,” he says. “So we said, ‘If they can make meat out of vegetables, why can’t we make vegetables out of meat?’ We’re going to introduce to the world a category we call ‘megetables’—we’ve applied for trademark. Our first vegetable is going to be the marrot.”
It’s a carrot made of meat.
The move is a gleeful troll by the carnivorous fast food chain that recently announced it’s never going to sell fake meats like the Impossible Burger. Specifically, the marrot is a seasoned, marinated turkey breast, cut and rolled into the shape of a carrot. It’s cooked sous vide. Then it’s rolled in dehydrated carrot juice and oven-roasted. The marrot is finished with a brûlée of maple sugar and a sprig of parsley on top. Taylor points out that it’s high in protein and vitamin C—what Arby’s dubs a “meat snack.”
For now, the marrot is nothing more than a concept out of the Arby’s test kitchen. Depending on public response, the company may or may not bring it to market as a limited-time promotion. If it does, the promotion will be similar to how the Arby’s featured venison on the menu in 2016 (which sold out in just two hours given eager demand and extremely limited quantities).
Right now, White Castle, Burger King, and KFC have all begun adding plant-based “meats” to their menus in a fast food gold rush for the stomachs of woke, flexitarian consumers. Arby’s is specifically and actively not going this route. Its slogan is literally “we have the meats,” as the company has anchored into carnivores as part of its business strategy. And those customers may very well have an appetite for a marrot.