Sonic Drive-In tested a new burger in 2017 that is part mushrooms and part beef and due to the surge of health-conscious consumers, the test went well. Now, Sonic will offer the blended burger at all of their 3,500-plus locations.
The patty is made out of 25-35 percent mushrooms, which significantly lowers the environmental footprint of the burger. “Beef is the most resource-intensive food that we eat in the U.S.,” said Richard Waite, an associate in the food program at the nonprofit World Resources Institute.
In fact, the World Resources Institute concluded that if all 10 billion burgers Americans eat each year used blended patties with at least 30 percent mushrooms, it would cut 10.5 million tons of annual CO2 emissions, save 83 billion gallons of water a year, and reduce the amount of global farmland needed by an area the size of Maryland.
Sonic’s decision to add a blended burger to their menu is definitely a step in the right direction for animals, our health, and the environment (even Google has blended burgers!) … but why stop with a blended burger?
With the immense popularity of plant-based burgers such as the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger, Sonic could add a completely animal-free burger to their menu and appeal to vegans and meat-eaters alike. The family-friendly restaurant chain, TGI Friday’s recently added the Beyond Burger to all of their locations, only to be met with applause. What’s more, the equally juicy Impossible Burger is now at all Fatburger locations across the U.S.
Not to mention, there are a handful of lab-grown meat technology companies such as JUST (formally Hampton Creek), Memphis Meats, Mosa Meat, and SuperMeat, who are working towards bringing an animal-free burger to market. Importantly, plant-based and lab-grown burgers will help the environment even MORE than a blended burger. So much so that research by Oxford and Amsterdam Universities noted that switching to lab-grown meat would allow a reduction of up to 98 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 99 percent of land exploitation, and up to 96 percent in water usage.
“A solution that shifts away from beef and towards plants, even if it’s not a 100 percent shift, could still yield a pretty big environmental impact, especially if a lot of people do it,” said Waite. Sonic, a blended burger is a step in the right direction but it’s high time to add a plant-based or lab-grown meat burger to your menu. Give the people what they want!
To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.
Image Source: Sonic