Consumer opinion is divided after the launch of BrewDog’s Hybrid Burger – a controversial combination of 50% Beyond Meat and 50% sustainably reared beef, sandwiched between two matcha buns and garnished with vegan Gouda cheese.
While the craft beer brand positions the product as a ‘best of both worlds’ solution for flexitarians, calling it a ‘stepping stone to a better place’, the dairy-free 50/50 Hybrid Burger has been stirring up confusion and criticism within the online vegan community, with the brand under fire for creating a patty in which meat sits alongside vegan ingredients.
One Twitter user criticized the brand’s use of vegan cheese in a burger which contains meat. Another questioned the point of the product: “Why not offer a meat burger and a plant-based burger? That way you can appeal to meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. This Hybrid Burger cuts your market significantly.”
From a marketing perspective the move was labelled a ‘massive fail’ by one branding agency. Others called it a ‘marketing ploy’.
The brand, taking to its own blog, defended the launch as an ‘environmentally sustainable alternative’, stating that it enables ‘anyone to make a transition to eating less animal based protein’.
While BrewDog’s Hybrid Burger is clearly not a product aimed at vegans, it may help people to decrease their meat intake
“As we are in the grip of a climate emergency, the more people who eat less meat the better. That is why we have launched this fresh take on flexitarianism,” says BrewDog.
Some Tweets, however, were more open to the concept. “I’m genuinely curious to try it. I love meat but recognize meat farming isn’t good for the planet. This seems like a novel, interesting idea,” said one user. Another argued: “We don’t (just) need a small number of people eating no meat, we need a large number of people eating a lot less meat.”
“With the Hybrid Burger we now have another way to get your burger-fix whilst still doing your part for the environment and generations to come,” added BrewDog.
Commenting on the launch, Dominika Piasecka, media and PR officer at The Vegan Society, says: “In light of climate change emergency and growing concerns around the use of animals for food, people are increasingly becoming vegan or limiting their consumption of meat, dairy and eggs.
“While BrewDog’s Hybrid Burger is clearly not a product aimed at vegans, it may help people to decrease their meat intake.
“It’s a great start to reduce your animal product consumption but we would strongly encourage people to try a fully vegan meal to truly experience the nutritious and delicious plant foods.”