Multinational brewery and pub chain BrewDog has sparked fierce Twitter debate by launching an unusual new burger, half of which consists of plant-based ‘Beyond Meat’ and half beef – all sandwiched between two green Matcha Tea buns.
Marketed as “an environmentally sustainable alternative with zero compromise on flavour”, the hybrid burger is entirely dairy-free and surrounded by 100% vegan ingredients – except for the sustainably-reared beef.
BrewDog explained the new product was an attempt to help those looking to cut down - but not totally stop eating - meat, commonly known as flexitarians.
Despite the negative reception from the media and the public, BrewDog’s attempt to appeal to a growing number of flexitarians makes sense. YouGov data shows that 14% of the UK would describe their eating habits as flexitarian, much more than those who identify as vegetarian (4%), pescatarian (3%) or vegan (1%).
The proportion of BrewDog’s current customers who are flexitarians is even higher (23%) and almost half of their customer base (49%) also say that they’re actively trying to reduce their meat consumption, which is 10 percentage points more than the national average.
They’re also more likely to consider a meatless diet as a healthier option (41%), and enjoy experimenting with new recipes (77%) or experiencing new foods and cuisines (89%).
More than two fifths of BrewDog customers say that they are most encouraged to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet by environmental factors (42%). One method of reducing meat intake is to use meat substitutes, like the ‘Beyond Meat’ in the hybrid burger. A third of the UK (31%) consume meat-free products or meat substitutes at least once a month. This increases to a huge 53% of BrewDog customers.
Considering how receptive BrewDog’s customer base appears to be towards reducing their meat intake through new substitute products, and the large portion of this group that are already flexitarian or at least tempted to consider a plant-based diet for environmental concerns, the hybrid burger could well be a hit. Whether it will entice opinionated carnivores to try a less animal-based option remains to be seen though.
This article previously apeared in City A.M.