Plantbased Business Hour

What Is The Future Of Fast Food?  Four Plant-based Founders Weigh In

The Future of Fast Food: Kim Anderson of Plant City and Plant City X, Seth Goldman of PLNT Burger, Eat The Change and Beyond Meat, Zach Vouga of Plant Power Fast Food and TK Pillan of Veggie Grill and Stand Up Burgers join consultant Elysabeth Alfano on The Plantbased Business Hour to discuss the changing landscape of fast food…for the better!

They also discuss

  1. How have they seen the plant-based landscape change post Covid,
  2. Has the customer profile changed?
  3. Does increased competition help or hurt them?
  4. How they have had to increase and/or shift marketing,
  5. What they say about plant-based burgers not being healthy,
  6. Predictions for the next 5 years in vegan fast food, including cellular/cultivated meat, and
  7. What they would like to see in the QSR space that isn’t yet there.

A highlight clip from their conversation and an accompanying transcript is below. Full podcast is here.

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Elysabeth: Where do you see cellular playing a role here in fast food in particular?

Kim Anderson: I think that there’s billions of dollars going into that field. You know, we’re a part of that. We believe in it because you can’t get everybody to go plant-based and we’re going to have to provide a solution and when we have price parity who is McDonald’s going to order from? They’re going to order from the one that has no hormones, no antibiotics, no potential for e-coli or mad cow disease and having Gen Z picketing at their door for being environmental devastators and preventing the next pandemic, all of it. It’s going to be an easy choice when they get to price parity so the people who are standing there saying, “I’m never going to eat that,” they’re not going to have a choice. That’s what McDonald’s is going to offer and that’s what everybody else is going to offer too. We just need to get it to the point hopefully where we can reach price parity.

Plant City
©Plant City

Elysabeth: Yeah, cellular agriculture at price parity is the death of animal agriculture. You wouldn’t choose it otherwise. But do you envision that in your own restaurants? Zach what do you think? Cellular burgers, are they coming to Plant Powered Fast Food?

Zach Vouga: This is an incredibly divisive topic right now in the vegan and plant-based communities and you know hopefully it gets to a point soon where it can be done without the fetal bovine serum and, you know, I’d have to take a long hard look at how it’s being fostered. I’m certainly not against it overall for the movement. I think it’s an excellent thing.

I’ll tell you what really excites me. I’m sure you guys are well aware, but Perfect Day Foods is a really exciting company. They’ve essentially taught microflora to replicate the proteins of milk and whey. And so these things are very interesting topics to keep [on our radar.] At least at Plant Powered, we’re keeping our finger on the pulse for [it] and I fully predict in the next five years you’ll see plant-based restaurants and traditional restaurants alone start to interlace their menu with some of these offerings.


Elysabeth: Perfect Day brought me to tears. When I tried that ice cream, and it is ice cream; it is nothing but pure, rich delicious ice cream, I knew I was holding the end of animal agriculture in my hands. There is no reason that you would ever choose anything involved with animal agriculture when you have that right there.

They’re giving microflora the cliff notes of what it means to grow animal protein and then they’re adding fat and sugar, I mean what’s not to love? Okay, Seth, you brought it up, what are your predictions for cellular agriculture? It is going to be in PLNT Burger?

Seth Goldman: It will not be. It’s not plant-based so I don’t see it in PLNT Burger. I also share Kim’s view that it’s a movement where we need everybody, so I’m not in any way condemning this approach, but I don’t see it being relevant for us.

The other thing that I’m willing to predict is that within five years we’re going to see a flipping point around plant-based meats. So right now people say, ‘Well, why do we need plant-based meat?’ and there’s pros and cons of it. But, within five years, plant-based will have an advantage of parity or better around taste, advantage on nutrition, advantage on environmental impact, advantage on health impact, and within five years they’re going to have the advantage around cost. Then that flips the question, and they say, ‘Why do we need animal-based meat? What’s the point? Is it just so we can have a system of raising and slaughtering billions of sentient creatures because that doesn’t seem like a very compelling motivation.’

PLNT Burger
©PLNT Burger

Elysabeth: I one hundred percent agree. I think it’s the motivation to line the pockets of those people interested in that but otherwise there would be no reason for the rest of us living on the planet to want that for ourselves or animals or the planet.

TK Pillan: Yeah, so I’ll jump in and add onto what Seth said that plant-based is solving a lot of problems right now and will keep getting better at solving those problems. Hopefully, the cellular side will solve some problems that plant-based can’t. Whether it’s a certain cut of meat, a steak, or a salmon, right? But plant-based is solving a lot of problems and will keep solving those problems even better and hopefully cell-based will solve some problems plant-based can’t.

Elysabeth: Yeah, I love that approach. It does take a village and then adding to cellular agriculture there’s also fermented proteins and so that’s what we were talking about with Perfect Day which is what they’re doing with ice cream. But a lot of people are doing that with dairy and milks and then not fermented proteins but biomass proteins, companies like Nature’s Fynd where they’re creating meat really from microbes. So, I think people are going to have a lot of options and that’s what people like; to have options.

Natures Fynd
Nature’s Fynd ©Charles Cherney Photography

There’s this fear that their meat is being taken from them but actually it’s being replaced with so many options and so many healthier options. Some not healthy, I mean when you bring in cellular agriculture then you lose the health benefits. So you don’t have antibiotics or hormones but you do have TMAO and animal heme, etc. So, I think people are going to want choices and some people are going to go for plant-based and some people are going to go for cellular and the more the merrier as long as it’s not animal agriculture.

Now you can be a part of the conversation. The Plantbased Business Hour airs LIVE on LinkedIn every Tuesday at 1p PT on Elysabeth Alfano’s LinkedIn Page: here. Tune in to ask the most influential leaders in the plant-based business arena your questions.  To make sure you never miss an episode, vegconomist will be also be featuring The Plantbased Business Hour interviews every Wednesday. Stay tuned right here for more. To learn more about The Plantbased Business Hour, click here. Follow Elysabeth on LinkedIn here and PBH here.

For inquiries regarding sponsorship of The Plantbased Business Hour, contact Emma Clarkson at [email protected]

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