This Vegan Burger Outsells Beef Burgers 5 to 1. Here's Why
The mouthwatering Beyond Meat vegan burger (yes, even the cheese is vegan) at Grand Hyatt Manila. Photo: Ronan Capili
Meat or Myth: A vegan burger outsold its beef counterpart 5 to 1.
While booking my tickets to see the Avengers: Endgame, I remembered that 10 of their cast members are vegan, including Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange) and Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther).
Being Vegan is finally cool.
I called my editor Kate to ask her to join me in Grand Hyatt Manila to feature the first meat-free burger to ever beat its beefy counterpart on the same menu, 5-1. That means for every five orders of burgers in Grand Hyatt, four is for Beyond Meat.
Beyond Meat burgers prepared the Grand Hyatt Manila way. Delicious! Photo: Ronan Capili
I sit down with Christian Schmidradner, a long-time acquaintance and founder of Pristine Solutions, a company that is committed to bringing in sustainable options to the Philippines, and chat with him about how he got to the business of bringing in the famed Beyond Meat line to the least vegetable-eating country in Asia.
Pristine Solutions founder Christian Schmidradner, Weizel Gulfan (writer), head Chef Mark Hagan of Grand Hyatt Manila. Photo: Ronan Capili
“It’s part of the Green Monday initiative,” he tells me. An organization that encourages meat-free eating every first day of the week. Being a sustainable seafood advocate and entrepreneur, Christian is well affiliated with 5-star hotels and a friend to Grand Hyatt’s head Chef Mark Hagan. The executive chef of Hyatt was actually the one to suggest that he carry the famed Bill Gates funded meat-free burger to the Philippines, seeing the natural connection of the brand to Christian’s sustainability efforts. What started as a curiosity between two like-minded friends fast became a success for both Beyond Meat and Grand Hyatt as orders for the meat-free burger poured in faster than they can accommodate.
Beyond Meat sausages that rival the next bratwurst or frankfurter sandwich. Photo: Ronan Capili
Do you know that less than 1% of the country are vegetarians? I tell Chef Mark. He looks at me surprised, “then I've met that 1% and more” he quips. I blink, eyes widening. “Did you have apprehensions bringing in Beyond Meat to a meat-loving populace? I would think it was quite a risky decision,” I ask him. “We have a lot of guests looking for vegetarian and vegan options, and as a chef, I am intrigued on how to elevate their experience,” with a smile he added “outside pesto on pasta, tomatoes on pasta that is!”
Grand Hyatt Manila's version of a vegan Kimchi Rice—nothing short of amazing! Photo: Ronan Capili
I catch a glint of pride in his eyes as he talks about guests who have never eaten meat (think Hindus and Buddhists) that freak out as they have a “burger" and a “sausage” for the first time, suspiciously making sure it really doesn’t have any animal ingredients in them. People who are ill and cannot have meat as their diet demands it, finding joy on eating comfort food again without risking their health, and parents bringing in their kids to eat meat-free options in an attempt sneak in more vegetables on their kids’ plates.
A look at the delicious vegan dishes offered at Grand Hyatt Manila's Grand Kitchen on Meatless Mondays. Photos: Ronan Capili
For Christian, it’s less about providing a gastronomic experience and more about lessening our carbon footprint. He reminds me again and again to make sure I don’t forget to talk about Green Mondays and Sustainable Food Month, reminding me that going meatless is just part of the movement for climate health.
The Beyond Meat Burger isn’t just tasty enough to replace beef, healthy enough to eat regularly, but it is also one of the biggest conservation wins of our time. As people shift more and more to meat-free eating, our chances of curbing the effects of animal agriculture, the single-worst cause of carbon emissions in the atmosphere (causing global heating), drastically improves.
#GoBeyond this #EarthDay ?? It makes intuitive sense that if you take the animal out of the equation, you can make meat much more efficiently, but how much more? ———————————— If you haven't had the chance to check out the peer-reviewed Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) we lead with The University of Michigan quantifying the environmental difference between the Beyond Burger and a beef burger, today is the day. The study concluded that The Beyond Burger uses 99% less water, 93% less land, generates 90% fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGE), and requires nearly 50% less energy than a beef burger. ———————————— Link in bio to learn more about the study.
Aside from launching a successful meat-free campaign, Grand Hyatt Manila is also curbing its plastic consumption by charging extra for the request of plastic straws. The 5-star hotel also supports local farms particularly for its coffee and have started their own permaculture garden on hotel grounds. “But I still see plastic lids on paper cups on the cafe downstairs,” I tease their Irish Chef, to which he countered that it should be single-use plastic manufacturers that should be leading the shift to plastic-free consumerism. I couldn’t agree more, and yet just like what Chef Mark is doing in Grand Hyatt with Beyond Meat, striving for a more zero-waste practice is a process that isn’t about total abstinence but simply about mindfulness—that we should eat less meat, skip single-use plastic as much as possible and support local ingredients as much as we can.
Its not about 100% compliance, if every one of us makes it a point to do our part, the ripple effect we can create as a population will help reverse the seemingly impossible harm our parents have inflicted on our planet. A series of small continuous steps is all it takes to survive climate change—and hopefully we’ve seen the last of 48 degree summers in Manila, a heat index that registers as “dangerous.”
Beyond Meat is available ala carte in Grand Hyatt, and on their buffet every Monday. By the end of May, the best-selling vegan burger and sausage will also be on most 5-star hotel menus. Christian assures me that direct orders will also be an option for those who want to make it at home. Pristine Solutions will also be carrying other vegan alternatives like Daiya, a dairy-free cheese line (perhaps the best in its category) and Omnipork, a plant-based ground meat option.
Our talented chefs have cooked up amazing new additions for the first Green Monday at The Grand Kitchen! From crunchy corn kakiage to an exquisite ratatouille, indulge in the new vegan and vegetarian dishes tomorrow. Call +63 2 838 1234 or email [email protected] for reservations and inquiries. #GrandHyattManila #GoGreenGoGrand #TheGrandKitchen
Being a self-confessed carnivore that I am, I'd have to say I was pleasantly surprised to hear about such a thing happening in Manila. With new restaurant concepts popping up left and right, it's good to know that there are groups that still advocate healthy eating and the good of the planet. We can't just keep taking, and not giving back right?
As for Beyond Meat? Well this is one of my best discoveries of 2019 so far. I'm thankful for Weizel introducing me to this awesome brand, and for Grand Hyatt's version that still leaves a lingering craving to this day. I'm mentally scheduling my next couple of visits as I write this.
You know how they say vegan meat or veggie meat tastes like cardboard? Definitely not this one. One bite into the Beyond Meat burger is enough to convince you why it outsells its beef counterpart in the same menu. The vegan cheese is yet another cherry on top, adding much flavor that won't make you miss what you're used to. If you're not a burger type of gal, well then there are tons of other options that are made to satisfy as well—sausages, and their version of Kimchi Rice are must-tries (yet another personal favorite as I order this dish all the time at another popular cafe).
For reservations, e-mail [email protected] or call (02) 8381234.
Photography by Ronan Capili