Launching in Brighton this week, the new burger patty - produced by the Not Beef Burger Company - is made from a mixture of mushroom, beetroot, soy beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and bulgar wheat. It will be rolled out across the company’s other stores over the next few weeks.
The patty will be used in place of beef in dishes such as the ‘Classic Smash’, made with the group’s trademark ‘Smash sauce’; the cheeseburger with American cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickles and red onion; and the truffle mushroom Swiss.
A range of triple stacked burgers are on the menu, with vegan versions of mozzarella; cheddar cheese; and mayonnaise available as substitutes.
Smashburger is a “better burger” restaurant which made a name for itself by serving beef patties that are smashed on the grill. It also serves chicken sandwiches; black bean burgers; salads; and shakes, so producing an entire vegetarian menu is a big move for the brand.
The group launched its debut UK site in Milton Keynes in 2015 and has since grown to six sites across the country.
Founder Tracey Gehlan has called on other operators to extend their meat-free options for environmental reasons.
“Quite simply, the global demand for beef is unsustainable…we will still sell beef for the time being, but this is an important step forwards in a journey that the entire industry needs to take,” she says.
Meat-based restaurants are increasingly working on offering more vegetarian and vegan options as more people opt to reduce their meat intake.
KFC is currently developing a vegetarian alternative to serve alongside its famous fried chicken, and burger restaurant Byron is targeting a wider market by offering a ‘burger diversity’ menu, which includes a range of vegetarian and vegan options.
The US-born Beyond Burger, said to taste and look exactly like real meat, will launch in the UK this year.