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According to the Wallraff report: How Burger King wants to become vegan (again).


Günter Wallraff's team researched that "tastes like meat" - this can also be due to a mix-up with vegan dishes from Burger King. The chain wanted to be a pioneer, but has lost its V-Label for the time being.

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Promotional photo of Burger KIng: Vegan, only if processed properly

Photo: BURGER KING Germany GmbH

For decades, Burger King's formula for success has included the inevitable: ground beef.

But vegetarian and vegan food is no longer a niche product.

If you want to stay big with a restaurant chain – and Burger King has 750 branches in Germany alone – you have to offer more than boulette rolls with extra cheese.

Actually, things were going well for Burger King on this topic: the company offers a meatless alternative for almost every meat-based burger, five products received the V-Label as a seal of quality a year ago, and a vegan burger was awarded by the animal rights organization Peta.

This summer, the chain even opened a completely vegan branch at Vienna's Westbahnhof.

The current slogan seemed believable: "Normal or with meat?"

Vegan burger with chicken?

Until last Thursday.

Because RTL broadcast a new episode of the investigative program "Team Wallraff" and showed how the undercover reporter Lea crept into a Munich Burger King branch.

She reported on the lax handling of vegan burgers: According to this, meatless products repeatedly came into contact with meat-containing products, sometimes they ended up in the same warming containers and fryers.

The two product lines are easy to confuse, but many employees don't care.

And if the vegan version isn't available at the moment, why not try a chicken burger with chicken between the halves of the bun.

The next day, Burger King was rid of the V-Label.

There would not even have been a need for a total mix-up: Whoever agrees to the licensing conditions must ensure that food offered as vegan has no contact whatsoever with animal products.

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  • Evaluation of 57,000 products: Beef jerky is the most polluting food

How does it go from here?

Did the disaster wipe out the animal welfare revolution at Burger King?

In an interview with SPIEGEL, but also in detailed explanations on its own website, the company is contrite and absolutely willing to improve.

The five branches that were shown in "Team Wallraff" were immediately closed and subjected to an investigation.

In addition, according to the information, they want to set up a whistleblower hotline to track down grievances.

The tenor: »Obviously, a few employees in some restaurants did not adhere to the high standards that we have established for our vegan products.

That's not acceptable to us." The focus is now increasingly on "intensive training" for their own people.

»...discusses open-ended which evidence meets the requirements«

ProVeg Germany

So far, ProVeg has not revealed anything concrete as to whether this is sufficient.

The organization, based in Switzerland, licenses the V-Label for around 14,000 vegan and another 4,000 vegetarian products so far.

The licensing process, reports Burger King, took several months for the three burgers and two nugget varieties.

Not only ingredients were disclosed, but also the preparation processes.

ProVeg has service providers such as TÜV, Bureau Veritas or Easy-Cert monitor compliance with the guidelines.

This does not say whether this had already happened in the case of Burger King.

According to the Wallraff report, strictly speaking, the use of the label is only suspended - return possible.

But how Burger King could provide evidence of a purification is not clear from the statements by ProVeg: »The V-Label is therefore currently openly discussing which evidence from system gastronomy meets the requirements of the seal of approval.«

One impression conveyed by the Wallraff report is that it is often difficult to separate the two areas, if only because the products look so similar.

That would be devastating.

When asked, Burger King assures that the technical conditions exist everywhere to prepare vegan food separately.

There is a separate fryer in every restaurant, the frying basket is “clearly marked in green”, and every plant-based product has always been given the abbreviation “PB”.

And: "Since August 2022 we have also had separate packaging for plant-based products." Mixing of some sauces is completely impossible: "There is only one vegan mayo for all our products."

Of course, that was already the case before last Thursday.

Burger King promises to make improvements: "Here it is also important for us to design the operational processes in such a way that confusion and possible errors are ruled out from the outset." ProVeg will "continue to provide advice".

The organization also has little experience with such incidents.

The five Burger King dishes were the first V-Label awarded by ProVeg in German system gastronomy.

Despite everything, it shouldn't be the last.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-10-05

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