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ASCM Insights

Meat-Free Burger, Hold the Stockout


When you envision eating at Burger King, Del Taco, TGI Fridays or White Castle, nutritious plant-based food probably isn’t part of the picture. But in an effort to attract new diners — particularly people seeking healthy, sustainable foods and those following special diets — about 20,000 restaurants across the United States now offer imitation meats such as those produced by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

“We want to remain relevant,” Jamie Richardson, vice president for corporate relations at White Castle System Inc., told The Wall Street Journal. His company was one of the first chains to offer Impossible Foods’ beef substitute last year. Now, Richardson credits the introduction with White Castle’s recent 4-percentage-point sales increase.

Likewise, Burger King locations selling Impossible Whoppers experienced a 17% month-to-month increase in visits — and that’s compared to a 2% average dip across all of its stores.

“Fast-food restaurants are rushing to add meat-free burgers to their menus, hoping these higher-priced alternatives will help them capture additional traffic and dollars,” write Jacob Bunge and Heather Haddon in the Journal article. “Beyond Meat’s shares have nearly quadrupled from its May initial public offering price, valuing the company at $6 billion. Impossible Foods raised a further $300 million from private investors in May, lifting total funding to $750 million.”

With such incredible demand growth, plant-based-foods suppliers are struggling to fill orders. Impossible burgers are Craft & Crew Hospitality’s second-most-popular menu item, even though they are $4 more than a regular burger. Unfortunately, the Minneapolis-based restaurant group hasn’t received shipments for weeks.

In response to shortages such as this one, Beyond Meat has opened a new facility and recruited producers to triple production capacity. Impossible Foods hired 25 additional production employees. “It will take us some time to get back into that synchronization of supply and demand,” said Chief Financial Officer David Lee.

Representatives from both companies believe greater scale will lower production costs. In fact, Beyond Meat says its products will match the price of ground beef within five years.

Bon appétit

As consumer preferences evolve, it’s crucial to explore new and different ways of thinking about supply chain. From planning and procurement to production and delivery, ASCM 2019 features more than 65 educational sessions covering all aspects of the extended supply chain.

MIT’s Yossi Sheffi will present “Going Green Is Not Black-and-White,” which explores why it’s essential to monitor consumer willingness to pay more for green products. This knowledge is critical for any company considering investing in sustainability in order to bring about meaningful change.

“Beyond the Millennial Mindset: What You Need to Know About Gen Z,” presented by award-winning speaker Lisa Ryan, will offer insights into the next generation to dominate the market, why they are so different from their predecessors, and strategies to attract these sustainability-oriented consumers to your company — both as customers and potential employees.

Early-bird pricing for ASCM 2019 will end after June 30. Take the opportunity today to join us in Las Vegas — a city full of internationally renowned chefs serving cuisines to satisfy any appetite.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through

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