'Bleeding' plant-based burger hits growing UK vegan market

Beyond Burger a sellout in the US

By JACK GUY, CNN
Beyond Burger

The Beyond Burger, a soy-free, gluten-free vegan patty that "changes color as you cook it," just like a traditional beef burger, hit the shelves at the UK's largest supermarket chain Tesco.

(CNN) - It sold out in the US, and now the delayed launch of a "bleeding" vegan burger is causing huge excitement among UK vegetarians and vegans.

On November 12 the Beyond Burger, a soy-free, gluten-free vegan patty that "changes color as you cook it," just like a traditional beef burger, hit the shelves at the UK's largest supermarket chain Tesco.

The burger is the brainchild of California-based vegan protein brand Beyond Meat, who say they added beet juice to the product to give it "a red-meat appearance."

It is made completely from plants, unlike "lab-grown" meats in development elsewhere, and contains 20g of pea protein, potato starch and coconut oil.

Massive demand saw the burgers sell out in stores following the US launch in May 2016, and UK consumers have been keen to try them.

"We see the growing global demand for delicious, plant-based proteins and are excited to serve that demand in the UK with the revolutionary Beyond Burger," said Seth Goldman, Beyond Meat's Executive Chair, in a statement.

"Bringing our innovative approach to merchandising to the UK, Tesco will sell The Beyond Burger in the chilled meat aisle alongside animal-based proteins."

Beyond Burger was originally scheduled to arrive in British stores in August, but that was delayed due to product shortages.

Now vegans across the country can get their hands on two Beyond Burger patties for £5.50 ($7.00) at 350 Tesco stores.

"FINALLY!! The wait is over and the Beyond Meat burger are now available in Tescos," wrote Instagram user vicsta_the_vegan.

"The Beyond Burger has been one of the most eagerly anticipated food launches of the year and we believe that this fantastic tasting patty will be a real game changer for anyone considering going vegan or trying a flexitarian diet," said Tesco Prepared Foods Selling Manager Martyn Doble in a statement.

Flexitarians reduce their meat and fish consumption, predominantly eating plant-based foods. The diet is becoming more popular as people try to improve their health, but also as they become more environmentally conscious. Cutting down on animal protein has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

"The most common reaction from those that have tried it is that they cannot believe it is made from plants," Doble added.

Alongside the Tesco launch, the Beyond Burger is also starting to appear on restaurant menus around the UK.

In October, pub chain All Bar One and fast food outlet Honest Burger started to offer the patty at locations across the country.

From December, vegans in London will also be able to get a Beyond Burger at specialist vegan fast-food restaurant Halo Burger.

The vegan patty has arrived in the UK at a time of growing interest in plant-based diets.

In November, research undertaken by UK supermarket chain Waitrose revealed that a third of British people now have meat-free or meat-reduced diets, with 13% identifying as vegetarian or vegan and another 21% identifying as flexitarian.

Experts agree that if you are not ready to give up meat entirely, a flexitarian diet, which is predominantly plant-based, can help.

A recent study found that the continued consumption of Western diets high in red meats and processed foods will further increase environmental pressures on our food system and could increase by up to 90% by 2050. By filling your plate with plant foods instead of animal foods, you can help save the planet.

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