Help keep One Green Planet free and independent! Together we can ensure our platform remains a hub for empowering ideas committed to fighting for a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate world. Please support us in keeping our mission strong.

When word got around that Wendy’s was testing a black bean burger in certain markets, the announcement of its official release couldn’t come soon enough. Now, it’s finally ready for distribution in the three test markets of Columbus, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Columbia, South Carolina – and Wendy’s has released this ad to help spread the word. While it might seem out of character for this fast-food chain to release a meat-free burger, trends in American food choices are changing!

Studies show that one-third of Americans are choosing to leave meat off their plates more frequently, and annual per capita red meat consumption fell 15 percent to 101 pounds in the past 10 years. The fact is, people are more aware of the impact that their food choices have on animals, the planet, and their health – and they’re turning to plant-based protein as a better option. 

With more consumers choosing plant-based, the fast food industry is starting to adapt. In 2015, Taco Bell released its “certified vegetarian” menu. For those who don’t eat meat or dairy, they made customizing vegetarian orders even easier by releasing a mobile app that allows you to remove and add any available ingredients. That same year, White Castle announced an all vegan slider. Although Taco Bell, White Castle, and Wendy’s continue to make non-veg options, their decision to offer vegan and vegetarian options speaks levels to the rise in demand for meat-free, dairy-free products.

Wendy’s burger patty features all vegan ingredients and the bun is also vegan, however, the cheese and sauce served alongside are not. If you’re looking for dairy-free options, don’t fear, Wendy’s explains: “[We] make every sandwich to order, so just ask for your sandwich to be prepared without cheese or ranch sauce.” Additionally, they cook the black bean patty in a separate oven so it does not contact with the grill used to prepare meat.

On top of this awesome addition to Wendy’s menu, is the fact that their ad for the new black bean burger is nothing short of amazing. Not only does it dispel the dreaded myth that you have to eat meat to get protein (p.s. the patty itself boasts a whopping 14 grams of protein), but it also presents the burger as an option for people who just “don’t feel like eating meat” that day. This advertisement sends the message that it is okay to not eat meat all the time – an idea that has been directly at odds with traditional fast food advertising, especially so for a company whose slogan used to be “Where’s the beef?”

The new burger and awesome ad show that the times are changing for the better. Plant-based protein is gaining traction as the best choice for the environment and personal health, so it is wonderful to see fast food companies changing with consumer demand.

The black bean burger has not yet been distributed to all Wendy’s locations, so if you do get to try the burger, tell us how it is in the comments!