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 they now have a plant-based burger on their menu called The Plantiful, featuring a patty developed in-house for their Canadian restaurants.
Following a trail blazed by fast food rivals like A&W, who brought Beyond Meat burgers on board nearly two years ago, Wendy's is among many in their class to seek out alternatives to offer a clientele that is rapidly decreasing their meat consumption. While A&W's adoption of the Beyond Burger can be deemed widely successful, particularly in markets like Metro Vancouver, it was just recently that the Canadian-founded chain Tim Hortons announced they were pulling all of their test Beyond Meat options off their menus, nationwide.
For The Plantiful, Wendy's has fixed their target market as flexitarians, rather than plant-based purists. A flexitarian is someone who follows a mostly vegetarian or plant-based diet, but does opt to eat meat and other animal products from time to time.
"Wendy’s® is now serving The Plantiful™, a plant-based burger that ensures flexitarians have a protein alternative that is full of taste," (emphasis theirs) reads their press release.
So if you are among those who are thinking "Hey, I should probably eat less meat," they are, in fact, looking for you to be their customer.
Vegans, this one really isn't for you.
It's quite clear, based on our follow-up questions to Wendy's regarding The Plantiful, that they know it will be a stretch to get strict plant-based eaters to order up their new pea-protein based burger. That's because they are very forthcoming in indicating that The Plantiful is first cooked on the same grill on which they prepare their regular chicken menu items, and, even if you opt to hold the mayo and cheese, your bun is toasted in a toaster in which items that are made with milk may have also been.
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 egg, 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 they are different from their Quick Serve sector peers in that they did not simply become clients of major vendors like Beyond Meat, but rather came up with their 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
One last caveat: As of right now, while you should be able to order up The Plantiful at your local Wendy's, but 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 e-mail.