urger King is being accused of “unfair and deceptive practices” in offering a meat-free burger that is prepared on the same grills as its meat-based products, causing the meat-free patty to absorb meat by-product.
This comes just months after the fast-food chain began selling the Impossible Whopper nationwide as a 100% plant-based version of its signature sandwich, the Whopper.
According to the proposed class action lawsuit out of the Southern District of Florida, Phillip Williams, who avoids all foods of animal origin, purchased an Impossible Whopper with no mayo under the assumption the vegan meat patty would be cooked in a “manner that maintained its qualities as a vegan (meat-free) burger patty,” states the suit.
The suit claims Williams was unaware the vegan burger was “covered in meat by-product.”
The Impossible Whopper’s patty is manufactured by Impossible Foods Inc., which was founded by Professor Patrick Brown in 2011 in Redwood City, Calif. with the ambition of creating nourishing food that is more environmentally friendly than food from animals. Impossible patties are allegedly made from soy protein concentrate and potato protein.
“Due to its impressive meat-like appearance, texture and taste, Impossible meat is one of the most popular vegan meat alternatives in the country,” the lawsuit says.
As advertised in television commercials and signage, the Impossible Whopper is “100% Whopper and 0% beef.”
The suit contends vegans reasonably believed Burger King’s Impossible Whopper was a meat-free alternative based upon its “representation that it would be a meat-free food.”
If vegan customers knew Burger King’s Impossible Whopper was “contaminated by meat by-product, they would not have purchased the Impossible Whopper,” especially at a premium price, the suit says.
Customers shell out a dollar more for the vegan burger than a traditional Whopper.
Yet, the Impossible Whopper has 630 calories and 58 grams of carbs, which is only about 30 fewer calories than a regular Whopper.
The case goes on to say that Burger King did not display any signage notifying their customers that the vegan burger would be prepared on the same grill as their traditional meat patties and contain meat by-products. Burger King, through its own advertising, the suit says, duped customers by deceptive practices.
“Burger King’s conduct of selling a meat-free Impossible Whopper that is in fact covered in meat by-products constitutes unfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair or deceptive acts,” the suit says.
Should the proposed class action lawsuit materialize, the amount in controversy could exceed $5 million in cost. For now, the case will be judiciously reviewed before customers affected by the allegations are notified.