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Why the Carl’s Jr.-Beyond Meat partnership matters

Carl’s Jr. has placed the plant-based Beyond Burger on their menu, symbolizing a mainstream shift toward reduced meat consumption.

Carl’s Jr., the fast food joint famous for charbroiled burgers that are available in half-pound servings, recently teamed up with an unlikely partner: plant-based protein company Beyond Meat. Now available at most Carl’s Jr. establishments across the country, the Beyond Famous Star with Cheese can be purchased for $6.29.

The burger features Beyond Meat’s much-acclaimed Beyond Burger, a product comprised of ingredients such as pea protein, coconut oil, bamboo cellulose and beet juice that very much resembles a beef patty. At retail, it’s sold in the meat case, and it appears to be raw when purchased. Plus, the patty sizzles and chars when it’s cooked, making it look to all but the most die-hard fans near identical to Carl’s Jr.’s classic burgers. 

The idea, says Patty Trevino, SVP of brand marketing for Carl’s Jr., is to appeal to customers who are seeking to reduce meat consumption, but not give it up entirely—consider the product for the “vegetarian curious” fast food frequenter. “The new Beyond Burger patty looks, cooks and satisfies just like a real beef patty—making it appealing to carnivores and flexitarians alike,” says Trevino.

“With nearly one-third of consumers identifying as flexitarian or limiting animal proteins in their diet, this partnership with Beyond Meat is a perfect add to our menu with great-tasting options and building on the Carl’s Jr. legacy of head-turning, mouth-watering innovation.” She adds that January is a particularly advantageous time to introduce the Beyond Burger into the menu because customers are more enthusiastic about making healthier decisions aligned with New Year’s resolutions.

Hearty marketing

Notably, Carl’s Jr. managed to maintain the brand’s rugged, irreverent and—let’s face it—masculine-focused marketing for the plant-based burger. While it’s no bikini-clad Paris Hilton eating the burger on a car (Carl’s Jr.’s famously icky ad from 2005) the fast food company’s video campaign for the Beyond Famous Star with Cheese is pretty funny.

The seventeen-second spot seems to be poking fun at the perception of vegetarian food. The video opens with the narrator gently saying over classical music, “Tiny plant, so delicate. So new to the world. One day you will grow …” (Cue the loud rock music and bold voiceover.) “Into the next iconic burger from Carl’s Jr., The Beyond Famous Star with Cheese. Legendary meaty flavor! Plant-based patty! It goes beyond your wildest burger dreams!”

The Beyond Burger’s hearty, filling messaging is integral to enticing core Carl’s Jr. consumers—who may normally choose a beef patty—into sampling the new option. And that’s a step in the right direction to help Americans of all stripes reduce their meat consumption for improved health and reduced carbon footprint.

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