Last November, a group of vegans started a lawsuit against Burger King, claiming that its plant-based Impossible Whopper burger was deceptive.
The group of seven plaintiffs had applied for class-action status, as they said the company deceived vegetarians and vegans into thinking it was a meat-free product, which it wasn’t as it was cooked on the same grill as meat hamburgers.
They also complained that some consumers had paid extra for the burger, as they believed it was a vegetarian product. When, in fact, it was cooked on the same surface as beef and therefore “tainted”.
The original plaintiff in the case said he didn’t know the Impossible Whopped was “coated in meat by-products”, and if he did he wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place.
However, a federal judge in Florida has now dismissed the lawsuit. The District Judge, Raag Singhal, said that Burger King never advertised the product as being suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
He said that, in his opinion, the plaintiffs should have asked Burger King how the product was cooked and requested an alternative product if it wasn’t suitable.
On Burger King’s website, the burger has always been described as something for customers looking for an alternative to meat. It also said that vegetarian preparation methods are “available on request”.
When the lawsuit was initially filed, the company that created the burger, Impossible Foods, issued a statement that the product wasn’t designed for vegetarians or vegans.
Instead, they were targeting meat eaters that wanted a plant-based alternative or wanted to eat less meat. Meatless and eco-friendly alternatives are growing in popularity, even with meat-eaters, and this was the purpose of the menu-option.
The judge noted that the product was never presented to the public as a vegetarian option, but instead, as part of a balanced menu. “Burger King promised a non-meat patty and delivered,” he said.