Fast-food chain Wendy’s is considering adding plant-based meat options to its menu, according to CEO Todd Penegor. Wendy’s held its 2019 second quarter earnings call this week and Penegor explained that the chain aims to compete in the plant-based meat space. “I’m curious about what your brand insights say about plant-based protein given the impact it has had in the industry and how these fit into Wendy’s higher quality brand positioning?”, Andrew Charles—vice president of investment firm Cowen and Company—asked Penegor. “Clearly there is growth out there in plant-based proteins and we believe that it is a trend that will be here to stay,” Penagor responded. “We’re taking a hard look at what the options would be for us at the restaurant.” Penegor pointed to a black bean burger that Wendy’s offered several years ago, explaining that its performance varied by location. “We want to do it the Wendy’s way. Something that is unique to Wendy’s. Our culinary team continues to look at various options. [Plant-based protein] is probably something we need to look at, and will look at, into the future.” Earlier this year, The Information reported that Impossible Foods’ investor deck revealed that the plant-based company experienced an “influx of interest” from fast-food companies, including Wendy’s. This year alone, a growing list of Wendy’s competitors—including Carl’s Jr., Burger King, Dunkin’, and Tim Hortons—have added either Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods plant-based meat products to their menus.
Photo credit: Mike Mozart