It looks like meat, but it’s not meat. After the USA and Sweden, Burger King also launches its vegetable-based burgers in Italy that resemble meat (in taste, texture, cooking) but do not contain animals. The Rebel Whopper can be tried in over two hundred Italian clubs, as well as in twenty-five European countries, from November 12th. Burger King is the first fast food giant to offer fake meat in Italy: McDonald’s is still being tested in Canada.

The new sandwiches, on sale for 4.80 euros (therefore in line with the prices of normal fast food burgers), very convincingly mimic the classic Burger King Whopper. They are filled with tomatoes, fresh lettuce, mayonnaise, ketchup, gherkins, onions and a grilled vegetable-based burger .

Jaap Korteweg, founder of The Vegetarian Butcher (photo: Burger King)

The burgers were developed for Burger King by The Vegetarian Butcher , a Dutch company founded by a farmer, a descendant of a family of farmers, when he decided to switch to a vegetarian diet after the outbreak of swine flu. The Vegetarian Butcher , which was acquired by Unilever in 2018, offers foods that faithfully reproduce the taste and texture of meat, but are totally vegetable-based.

The product created for Burger King (which for its launch in the United States has instead worked with Impossible Foods , perhaps the most famous producer of fake meat) has as its main ingredient proteins derived from soy and wheat from sustainable cultivations in North America.

The Rebel Whopper tasted at the press presentation in Milan (photo: Federica Maccotta)

The result? The Rebel Whopper, which we tasted at the press presentation in Milan, looks like a traditional Burger King sandwich. The meatball itself has a vaguely bloodless colour, but as a whole it might be difficult to distinguish a sandwich with meat-not-meat from a classic one for carnivores.

But be careful, the novelty at Burger King is not suitable for vegans: either because it contains mayonnaise, or because the burgers are cooked with the same tools that are used to grill normal meat. And in reality the target of fake meat is not so much the people who renounced the steak (which might not like something that mimics the taste), but who seeks an alternative to meat, also for ethical and environmental sustainability reasons.