Why Burger King's Veggie Burger Doesn't Matter
by David Sudarsky
Burger King's BK Veggie Burger has made a big splash, hasn't it? With ample free advertising and promotion by several pro-vegetarian web sites, the BK Veggie is well known among the vegetarian crowd, but it is worth noting that many longtime patrons of Burger King don't even know that this burger exists. Burger King is simply not pushing their only cruelty-free entree very hard. It's just as well, since the BK Veggie really isn't all that tasty. Compared with some of the better store-bought brands -- Gardenburger Flame-Grilled, Dr. Praeger's California Veggie, or Trader Joe's Burger Nouveau, to name a few -- the BK Veggie experience is not too satisfying.
Most agree that the BK Veggie is not a product that will capture the palate of a beef-eater, even occasionally. So why do so many vegetarians seem to care that it exists? One reason is that it is now easier for vegetarians to eat when on the road or when waiting in an airport. But is it so difficult to bring along a cold veggie meal (or two) instead? By packing a veggie sandwich made with soy-based deli slices, tempeh, or seitan, it is likely that you are supporting animal-friendly companies, in contrast to Burger King, which has been peddling animal parts for decades. Should Burger King be rewarded now that they have one cruelty-free option? If so, why not also support Taco Bell and Subway, both of which have offered vegetarian options for years?
Can I say anything positive about the BK Veggie? Yes. Its existence adds to the increasing evidence that times are changing for the better. But we need not support Burger King, McDonald's, Taco Bell, or any other such establishment that has a history of brutal animal exploitation. The success of our movement simply does not depend on such companies.
2007 UPDATE: 5 YEARS LATER, THE BK VEGGIE BURGER STILL DOESN'T MATTER
The above editorial was written 5 years ago, back when many pro-vegetarian organizations were heavily promoting Burger King due to their introduction of this veggie burger. Burger King's newer veggie burger is made by a completely different manufacturer today, and it is no longer vegan. We've had a number of reports that it tastes better than the old burger, though that's really beside the main point. I don't think that any pro-vegetarian groups are actually still promoting Burger King, fortunately! I believe that was an utter lapse of judgment on their part. --D.S.
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