New plant-based options now in Aotearoa

A plant-based burger in a sesame seed bread bun with slices of tomato, gherkin, onion and lettuce, on a plate with chips.
The Impossible Burger

The Impossible Burger is finally here! It drew media attention in Aotearoa back in 2018, when it was put on the business premier menu for Air New Zealand’s Los Angeles-Auckland flights. New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson said it was “a slap in the face” for New Zealand’s red meat sector, while the National Party’s Nathan Guy tweeted that the national carrier should be pushing our meat products. 

The Impossible Burger has been available at some restaurants for a little while, but it’s now being sold in Countdown supermarkets. Impossible uses plant-based heme (a molecule made by yeast fermentation) to give the burgers the aroma and flavour of meat. If you are turned off the taste of meat these probably aren’t the burgers for you. But for everyone else, they are an excellent replacement. 

I am looking forward to when Impossible Chicken Nuggets reach our shores. 

Rebel Chook in a bun with lettuce and vegan aioli.
Rebel BK Chook Burger

And for chicken meat burger lovers, the Rebel BK Chook at Burger King is now fully plant-based, (just ask for the mayo to be swapped to vegan aioli).

It is great that these alternatives are providing more options for vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians. It will certainly make it easier for people wanting to make more animal-friendly choices and those who might feel like they stand out from friends eating meat around them. Making these options easier and more accessible helps newer veg*ns stick to an animal-friendly diet. 

Some people might think it’s a bad idea to be supporting an international burger chain that makes its money primarily from exploiting animals. Is purchasing vegan products from huge fast-food chains just giving more profit to a company that seems like it will continue to serve meat as its primary option? Or is it good to show that the market for vegan menu items is growing fast, so they provide even more and, hopefully, cut down on the meat they serve? 

Similar concerns have been raised about the plant-based meat alternatives range, Let’s Eat, which provides the patties for the Rebel BK Chook. Let’s Eat is owned by Ingham’s, New Zealand’s second-largest chicken meat producer. On a positive note, the whole range of Let’s Eat is now fully vegan.

Though there are sometimes debates around the best decision, one thing that is definitely true, when choosing what to eat when you are out, the more choices there are (especially delicious ones) the more people are likely to keep animals off their plates. 

The best way to help chickens is to keep them off your plate. 

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