Long gone are the days when a fast-food chain could have a single veggie burger and say they’ve checked off the plant-based box.
Demand for alternative meat and milk options has long ago gone from niche to mainstream and, now, is an integral part to staying competitive for anyone who sells fast and fast casual food.
The same goes for milk alternatives as a recent study by Morning Consult found that one in three American consumers use a nondairy milk at least once a week. A report from Fior Markets also found that the alternative-milk market will quintuple to $47.95 billion from $9.79 billion between 2020 and 2028.
What’s Happening At Smashburger?
The burger chain partnered with plant-based food company Eclipse Foods to make six plant-based milkshakes to serve both at the restaurants and through various ordering apps.
Flavors available at Smashburger locations across the country include Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Tangerine Dream, Peanut Butter, and Oreo. Eclipse Co-Founder Thomas Bowman and Smasburger corporate chef Ty Goerke worked together to come up with a combination of both classic and unique flavors.
All will be available beginning June 21 and cost $6.19 in most locations (prices may vary as food costs soar amid inflation.)
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“Our shakes perfectly mimic the delicious taste and texture of traditional dairy milkshakes, and require no flavor sacrifice from consumers,” Aylon Steinhart, co-founder and chief executive of Eclipse, said in a statement. “And now that the shakes are available nationwide, even more people will have access to exceptionally delicious plant-based options that are better for the planet, animals, and people.”
Do Not Discount Plant-Based Drinks (And Desserts)
Growing demand for alternative milk and other vegan beverages is pushing many chains to up their offerings and try to outdo one another.
Starbucks (SBUX) – Get Starbucks Corporation Report recently added its third shaken espresso with an alternative milk to its menu while Shake Shack (SHAK) – Get Shake Shack Inc. Class A Report also launched a nondairy chocolate frozen custard at select New York and Florida restaurants.
In the spring, Starbucks rival Peet’s Coffee launched an entire plant-based spring menu with four oat-based lattes, a vegan “egg” breakfast sandwich and a Mediterranean flatbread with vegan smoked provolone cheese and pesto.
“Plant-based foods are not alternatives or substitutes at Peet’s Coffee,” Lori Fulmer, a senior manager at Food R&D for Peet’s Coffee, said in a statement in March. “[Over] the last 12 months, the number of plant-based meat, cheese and dairy products available to consumers in the marketplace has more than doubled.”
As a result, the pressure to have these types of items on the menu has never been higher. Increasingly, they are also being purchased by those who are not full-time vegan but may be scaling back on animal-based products or simply craving something lighter.
“As part of Smashburger’s aggressive approach to menu innovation and catering to our guest’s evolving tastes, we have continued to diversify our product portfolio with the launch of new plant-based milkshake offerings,” Smashburger President Carl Bachmann, said in a statement. “[…] This felt like a natural next step in Smashburger’s journey to offer more diverse and plant-based options for our guests, while still delivering the premium, top-quality menu items that Smash fans know and love.”