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Starbucks launching vegan Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich in Canada

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MILAN – Following a growing trend of North American restaurant chains that are now offering plant-based meat substitutes, Starbucks announced Wednesday the introduction of a Beyond Meat sandwich to its menu at its locations in Canada from March 3.

The launch comes just weeks after Starbucks Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer said on the coffee company’s first-quarter earnings call that a plant-based breakfast sandwich would be coming to both Canada and the U.S.

Wednesday’s announcement comes less than two months after Starbucks added new dairy-free milk options to its permanent menu.

The new sandwich will feature a custom Beyond Meat patty flavored with fennel, rosemary, and other herbs and spices. Starbucks said it has worked with the Beyond Meat on the custom recipe. Pricing details were not disclosed.

California-based Beyond Meat is one of the largest food companies that produce plant-based protein alternatives.

The news comes after Starbucks announced its sustainability commitment last year. As part of its far-reaching goal to become “resource positive,” Starbucks said it planned to offer more plant-based options on its menu. Among foods, animal protein was the highest contributor to its carbon and water footprints through 2018.

The NPD Group found that 18% of Americans are trying to reduce their meat consumption. The U.S. market for meat substitutes reached $1.44 billion in 2018, according to Euromonitor data.

In November, Starbucks’ coffee competitor Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc expanded its Beyond Sausage Sandwich to all its U.S. stores in November and said the launch has had sustained success.

On the other hand, Burger King saw sales of its plant-based Impossible Whopper decelerate in the fourth quarter, with executives citing a “premium price point” as a challenge for its customers.

McDonald’s Corpis testing its plant-based “P.L.T.” burger, using Beyond Meat patties, in Ontario.

According to The Spoon, Canada has become a sort of testing zone for QSRs who are eager to test out meatless meat. McDonalds, Wendys, and KFC all have done meatless tests up in the Great White North. At the same time Canadian fast-food chain Tim Horton’s, which was one of the early adopters of Beyond Meat, discontinued the plant-based option completely just last month.

Starbucks did not say whether U.S. locations would be getting its own plant-based breakfast offering anytime soon, but customers can likely expect one sometime this year, according to Rosalind Gates Brewer, the COO of Starbucks.

Walt Disney Co. announced on Tuesday that the Impossible Burger has been named the “preferred plant-based burger” of the company’s theme parks, cruises and resorts. Items like the Petite Impossible Burger, made with guacamole, and the Impossible Meatball Submarine sandwich will debut at the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival on Feb. 28.