Hungry Jack's is the first major fast food outlet in Australia to offer a plant-based version of its signature menu item. The oddly-named 'Rebel Whopper' is identical to a regular Whopper burger with one significant difference: the patty is entirely plant based.
However, it turns out that choosing the vegetarian option isn't always healthier. Here's how the nutritional info compares to the beef version.
The Rebel Whopper is Hungry Jack's first stab at a plant-based burger for the Australian market. Made from a mixture of legumes and natural oils, it is being billed as a cruelty-free alternative to traditional meat. But how does it taste? Read on for our verdict!
"0% beef but 100% Whopper taste." That's how Hungry Jack's is marketing the Rebel Whopper - a new plant-based burger made in partnership with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the alternative meat start-up v2food.
The imitation "beef" patty derives its protein from legumes, fibre from plants and oils from sunflower and coconut. Unlike some plant-based meats, the product contains no genetically modified ingredients.
If Hungry Jack's can be believed, the taste is virtually indistinguishable from the beef version. This is mainly down to the flame-grilled cooking process which imparts an identical smokey, BBQ flavour.
“In trials, the flavour profile of the 0% beef Rebel Whopper has stacked up brilliantly against the beef Whopper. It is very difficult to tell the difference,” Scott Baird, CMO of Hungry Jacks claimed.
In addition to the faux beef patty, the Rebel Whopper comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles, mayo and tomato sauce on a toasted sesame seed bun. While technically animal-free, vegans are advised that the patties are cooked on the same grill as regular beef patties.
Hungry Jack's isn't marketing the Rebel Whopper as a healthier choice, but the implication is definitely there. After all, how can a plant-based burger be fattier than flame-grilled beef?
Here's how the Rebel Whopper compares to the regular beef version, according to the nutritional info on Hungry Jack's website.
|Hungry Jack's Rebel Whopper||Hungry Jack's Beef Whopper|
|Energy||2790 kj||2750 kj|
|Protein||26.1 g||28.3 g|
|Fat||38.0 g||39.3 g|
|Saturated fat||10.4 g||11.7 g|
|Carbs||52.2 g||47.9 g|
|Sugars||8.4 g||8.0 g|
|Sodium||1150 mg||837 mg|
As you can see, the Rebel Whopper is actually slightly worse for you if you're counting calories. It has a higher amount of kilojoules, sodium, sugar and carbohydrates than the beef version. It also contains less protein despite being roughly the same size. The beef whopper is higher in saturated fat, though (10.4g versus 11.7g.)
On the plus side, you're not slaughtering an innocent cow to get your burger fix, which has to count for something. To its credit, Hungry Jack's isn't charging a premium either - it costs the same as a regular Whopper.
The Rebel Whopper is available now in all Australian states and territories. You can also order the burger online via Hungry Jack's MenuLog page. Look out for a Lifehacker taste test, coming soon.
There is a revolution taking place in burger joints and supermarkets across Australia. Plant products that taste and behave like meat are increasingly making their way onto the plates of consumers as concern grows over the environmental impact of food production.