Dunkin’ Joins Meatless Rush with Beyond Patty

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Heather Haddon reports:

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. DNKN +1.24% is diving into the meat-replacement craze.

The chain said Wednesday that it had added a breakfast sandwich made with Beyond Meat Inc.’s vegetarian “sausage” patty to the menu at 163 Dunkin’ stores Manhattan, and that it would soon serve them nationwide.

That makes Dunkin’ the latest of more than a dozen big restaurant chains that have added meat substitutes made by Beyond and rival Impossible Foods Inc. since 2017. Executives at those companies say they don’t want to miss out on consumer curiosity and demand for products that are marketed as more healthful and environmentally friendly than beef and pork.

“We are all about democratizing trends,” Dunkin’ Chief Executive Dave Hoffmann said in an interview.

Sales of plant-based meats in retail are up 10% in the past year to about $800 million annually, according to figures released by trade groups last week, and serving of plant-based burgers at fast-food chains have also climbed 10% from a year ago as more restaurants have added them to menus.

But Beyond and Impossible products have also faced shortages recently as demand and the number of new restaurants where they are on offer have outstripped production capacity. Some of the biggest restaurant chains including McDonald’s Corp. have said they are watching to see whether customers make eating the patties a habit.

Beyond co-founder and Chief Executive Ethan Brown said Wednesday that the company is addressing supply constraints, including by expanding production at new facilities.

“We were surprised in the interest consumers were showing in our products, and that it turned on very quickly,” Mr. Brown said.

Investors eager to jump in on the meat-replacement trend have pushed Beyond’s shares to $200 since they debuted at $25 in May. Beyond’s shares rose more than 4% Wednesday, and Dunkin’s stock was up 1%.

Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons, part of Restaurant Brands International Inc., started offering breakfast sandwiches using a Beyond sausage patty at close to 4,000 locations in Canada in June. Beyond, based in El Segundo, Calif., since 2017 has struck deals to sell its burger and sausage alternatives at chains including TGI Friday’s,Del Taco Restaurants Inc. TACO 0.36% and Carl’s Jr., the burger chain operated by CKE Restaurant Holdings Inc.

Rival Impossible Foods Inc. has its own fake-meat patties in “Impossible Whoppers” at Burger King, and replacement sausage toppings at Little Caesars Pizza.

Dunkin’, based in Canton., Mass., said it would suggest its franchisees sell the Beyond sausage sandwich for $4.29, around the same as many of its other Dunkin’ breakfast sandwiches. Dunkin’ franchisees set their own prices. Mr. Hoffmann said the sandwich will be profitable for franchisees at that price.

The meatless offering is the latest move Dunkin’ has made to push its image beyond drip coffee and doughnuts. The company recently reintroduced espresso and dropped “Donuts” from its name to appeal to customers looking for quick, affordable coffee and food.

“It’s all about transforming our brand and making it more relevant,” Mr. Hoffmann said.

Via wsj.com