Australian fast-food chain Hungry Jack’s—a franchise brand of the Burger King Corporation—recently invested $1 million into the development of a new plant-based burger patty. The new patty will be featured in a vegan version of the chain’s iconic Whopper menu item and is expected to be available at all 440 Hungry Jack’s locations across the country by the middle of the year. The chain’s owner, billionaire entrepreneur Jack Cowin, partnered with Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, to establish food manufacturing startup v2food which will focus on developing sustainable plant-based meat products. Its first project is to create the new Whopper patty, which is still in the development stages but is expected to smell, taste, and look like a freshly cooked meat patty. “We want to create an alternative version of the classic Whopper that Australians know and love, at a price ordinary consumers can afford, to answer to the environmentally sustainable movement that we’re now seeing,” Cowin said. “v2food will draw on the world-leading food science expertise of CSIRO to help pave an eco-friendly future, and we’re proud that [Hungry Jack’s parent company] Competitive Foods will play an active role in bringing the future of food to the mass consumer market.” The joint venture follows the release of a number of Hungry Jack’s vegan menu items last year, including a breakfast sandwich featuring a vegan patty with vegan mayonnaise and cheese, a vegan cheeseburger, and vegan burger. Last month, select Burger King locations in the United States rolled out a similar vegan-friendly Impossible Whopper featuring Impossible Foods’ popular plant-based patty, which is expected to expand to all 7,000 locations nationwide by the end of the year.

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