In April, when Burger King started running a regional test of the Impossible Whopper, its version of the popular plant-based-but-beefy Impossible Burger, it took only a few weeks before the fast-food chain announced that it planned to expand the offering to all of its 7,200 American restaurants. On August 8, that’s happening: If you want to try an Impossible Whopper, the burgers will be available nationwide.
Like a regular Whopper, the new burger is served with tomatoes, lettuce, and the other standard toppings (including nonvegan mayonnaise) on a toasted sesame-seed bun. And the flame-grilled patty itself may taste convincing enough that some diners could mistake it for beef. The company’s chief marketing officer has claimed that even Burger King’s corporate staff find it indistinguishable, telling the New York Times, “People on my team who know the Whopper inside and out, they try it and they struggle to differentiate which one is which.” The same day, customers using DoorDash and the Burger King app can order the “Impossible Taste Test,” a $7 meal with both the original Whopper and an Impossible Whopper.
For now, the chain says that the burgers will be available only for a limited time; it’s unclear whether that’s because of Impossible Foods’ challenges keeping up with demand or because the restaurant is still running tests of the product’s viability on its menu. The initial results, at least, were promising. In St. Louis, where Burger King ran its first pilot of the Impossible Whopper, the location data firm InMarket found that when the burger was added to local menus, visits to Burger King increased 16.75% over the previous month. During the same period, in other Burger King locations nationwide, visits dropped 1.75%.
If the burger can gain traction at the chain—and if the same thing happens at other fast-food restaurants that serve it or other plant-based alternatives like the Beyond Burger—it could make a material difference for the environment. A recent third-party analysis of the Impossible Burger found that it uses only a fraction of the land and water needed to make a beef burger of the same size, and it produces 89% fewer greenhouse-gas emissions.