02 May 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.