Burger King puts Whopper recipe on wrappers as part of ‘real food’ push

Linda J. Dodson

Table of Contents

Dive Brief:

  • Burger King is printing the ingredient list on the wrapping of Whopper sandwiches to show they no longer have any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in the U.S. The burger chain aims to increase the amount of its menu without artificial ingredients from 85% currently to 100% by the start of next year, according to an announcement.
  • The packaging lists the Whopper ingredients as “100% flame-grilled beef, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun,” and also says the burger doesn’t have any artificial ingredients, monosodium glutamate (MSG) or high-fructose corn syrup.
  • The new wrapper is the latest effort from Burger King to support clean eating, which has also included removing about 8,500 tons of artificial ingredients from its food in the past few years. The effort started this year in several European countries and select markets in the U.S., and will extend to Canada, Indonesia and other global markets.

Dive Insight:

Burger King’s “Whopper Recipe” campaign heralds the removal of artificial ingredients from its signature burger in all U.S. restaurants, the latest step in a multiyear effort to create a “clean food” menu. The move comes as younger consumers who are a key target for QSRs like Burger King prefer food with healthier ingredients.

More than half (57%) of millennial consumers said they follow a special diet such as Keto, Whole30, plant-based or vegan items, while 46% said they’ve changed their diets to be healthier, per a survey by Sweet Earth Foods, a plant-based food company owned by Nestlé. The coronavirus pandemic has heightened demand for healthy eating, with organic foods seeing a 25% jump in sales in Q2, according to Nielsen data cited by Bloomberg.

Burger King’s campaign marks the culmination of prior efforts to showcase its removal of artificial ingredients from the menu. Earlier this year, the burger chain launched an integrated ad campaign that showed a vivid picture of a Whopper overgrown with blue and green mold. The subversive “Moldy Whopper” campaign introduced its plans to start selling Whoppers without artificial ingredients at U.S. restaurants.

With younger consumers also favoring brands that show greater concern for the environment, Burger King ran a campaign to illustrate the negative effects the livestock industry has on the atmosphere. The effort included an educational video with an offbeat song to explain how methane emissions from cows lead to climate change. As part of the campaign, Burger King promoted a Whopper sourced from cows whose diets were designed to reduce methane.

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