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Wendy's is the latest Canadian fast food chain to jump on plant-based burger bandwagon

Where's the beef?
The Plantiful is Wendy's entry into the crowded beef-free market. Photo courtesy Wendy's Canada
The Plantiful is Wendy's entry into the crowded beef-free market. Photo courtesy Wendy's Canada

Canadians can now add Wendy's to the growing ranks of national fast food chains hopping on the plant-based bandwagon. Wendy's revealed Feb. 27 that it now has a plant-based burger on its menu called the Plantiful, featuring a patty developed in-house for its Canadian restaurants.

Following a trail blazed by fast food rivals such as A&W, which brought Beyond Meat burgers on board nearly two years ago, Wendy's is among many in its class to seek out alternatives to offer clientele who are rapidly decreasing their meat consumption. While A&W's adoption of the Beyond Burger can be deemed widely successful, particularly in markets such as Metro Vancouver, Tim Hortons recently announced it was pulling all of its test Beyond Meat options off its menus, nationwide.

For the Plantiful, Wendy's has fixed its target market as flexitarians, rather than plant-based purists. A flexitarian is someone who follows a mostly vegetarian or plant-based diet, but opts to eat meat and other animal products from time to time. 

It's clear, based on our followup questions to Wendy's regarding the Plantiful that the company knows it will be a stretch to get strict plant-based eaters to order up its new pea protein-based burger. Wendy’s acknowledges the Plantiful is first cooked on the same grill on which it prepares regular chicken menu items and, even if you opt to hold the mayo and cheese, your bun is toasted in a toaster that also toasts items made with milk.

Those who wish to scrutinize the ingredients list of the whole Plantiful package, from patty to condiments to bun, will find all of the info listed online — even the ketchup contains eggs, which further reduces your options for being wholly plant-based.

Obviously, fast food is still, by and large, junk food, but if you do a comparison of the Plantiful with its closest meaty counterpart at Wendy's, the Dave's Single Cheeseburger, the meat-free option has fewer calories, less fat and more fibre, while the cheeseburger has more protein. 

  • The Plantiful: 470 Calories, 4g Fiber, 22g Protein, 23g Fat
  • Dave's Single: 580 Calories, 2g Fiber, 30g Protein , 34g Fat

But perhaps most shockingly: Wendy's Plantiful patty is round. Talk about one quick way to answer the infamous Wendy's query "Where's the beef?"

Wendy's is also touting the fact that, unlike restaurants that serve Beyond Meat, Wendy’s came up with its own recipe. However, a rep for Wendy's did note that the company worked "alongside an established Canadian supplier" to come up with their Plantiful recipe.


Wendy's Plantiful Burger* Price:$5.78 -the price was worth the burger because it has a vegetarian patty -more affordable compared to other restaurants Wendy's description: Plant-based protein never tasted so good, topped with cheese, crisp lettuce, fresh tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup, and mayo on a toasted bun. Cooked on the grill to perfection. Comes with:toasted bun, ketchup, mayo, onion, pickle, tomato, lettuce, plant-based protein patty, and cheese. Notes:- Cheese was melted which made the burger better - Right amount of cheese -Right amount of onions and they were well spread out -bun was soft -not enough to lettuce -needed more sauce -the patty didn't have much flavor Rating: 8/10

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One last caveat: As of right now, while you should be able to order the Plantiful at your local Wendy's, it might not be a forever thing. 

"The Plantiful is being featured across Canada for a limited time," a rep for Wendy's told V.I.A. via email. 

Click here for original article.