Burger King to Sell Vegan Burger and Nuggets in Tel Aviv Branch

The franchise operator of Burger King in Israel has entered into a partnership with a local food tech company that develops meat alternatives that are plant based.

Starting this week, Burger King will introduce meatless menu items at its pop-up branch in Tel Aviv. The menu of Burger King Israel will boast a plant-based ‘Whopper’.

This is the signature hamburger of the American fast food giant. On Monday, the franchise announced that vegetarian ‘chicken’ nuggets will also be available.

The food items

‘Meat. The End’ (MTE) is the Israeli startup that specifically developed the food items for Burger King Israel.

The company is relatively a newcomer in the alternative proteins sector, as it was founded in 2020. According to the mission of the startup, it wants make plant-based ‘meat’ become like the real thing.

It intends to do so by solving the texture aspect. Dr. Yishai Mishor, the founder of MTE, said that many companies had managed to perfect the taste factor, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

However, there is a great deal of room for improvement when it comes to the texture of the product i.e. how it feels in the mouth.

The texture

Dr. Mishor said last year in a podcast that the texture issue was a major roadblock to achieving consumer satisfaction, particularly for meat-eaters who are looking for alternatives.

He asserted that the question of texture was a ‘bottleneck’ for the alternative meat industry and would act as a barrier in terms of consumption.

Mishor, who is also the CEO of MTE, said that taking plant protein that has its own body and shape and turning it into something close to animal protein is a complicated process.

He said that taste studies showed that 100% of the meat-eating tasters can identify when they are eating real meat, or an alternative, 100% of the time and this is primarily because of texture.

The technology

Extrusion technology is used by MTE and it is infused with proprietary steps during production. This results in the production of a texturized vegetable protein (TVP), or a texturized protein ingredient (TPI).

These are used as the building blocks of making plant-based burgers. The final outcome is a soy-based product, which is essentially texturized soy protein that looks like corn flakes.

Mishor said that ingredients like Texturized Protein are developed by MTE for transforming the plants’ texture into that of meat.

He stated that the technology they were using was a novel approach to the existing extrusion process. The patent for it was filed in 2021 by the company.

Mishor further added that Burger King Israel was its first prominent client, but it had more in the works. The plant-based nuggets and Whopper have been named ‘Veggie Kings’.

They will be made available this week in Tel Aviv at the pop-up branch of Burger King at Dizengoff Center. The pilot program will continue for a week.

The items will then be introduced at the nine stores of the franchise across the Gush Dan region in Israel in the next month.

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