Vegan burger stock on the up
Did you know that yesterday was “National Hamburger Day” in the United States? Well, nor did I. But the randomly-allocated date does actually tie in very nicely with recent financial markets news; principally the bombshell that, ironically, companies making vegan burgers are a better investment on the stock market than traditional fast food burger joints.
This irony was emphasised yesterday by the soaring stock price of plant-based meat substitute manufacturer Beyond Meat, which debuted on the NASDAQ stock exchange earlier this month.
Its vegan burger stock rose nearly 10% to $86 after announcing a new manufacturing facility in the Netherlands, thereby growing the brand and increasing its exposure in Europe as well as the States.1
And this could be the start of a phase of exponential growth for the company, which was founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. All signs point to Beyond Meat Inc. striking a partnership with McDonald’s in the very near future, meaning it would supply the golden arches firm with its meat-free vegan burgers.
Analysts say this alliance could lead to a 30% propulsion of Beyond Meat’s stock, potentially valuing it at around $100.2
Meanwhile, Burger King, whose stock price was valued at the equivalent of $66 at the close of trading yesterday3, has also reacted to the outcry for vegan burgers.
The chain’s restaurants in St. Louis, Missouri, have been stocking a vegan patty they call the “Impossible Burger” since April, which is produced by Beyond Meat rivals Impossible Foods and has greatly improved footfall at these locations.4
Just in case you think I'm writing this to further the vegan cause, I want to point out that I'm not a vegan, nor am I a vegetarian. In fact, I would probably put myself about halfway along the spectrum.
On the one hand, some of my favourite meals involve beef mince as the core ingredient. Spaghetti Bolognese, chili con carne, burritos, moussaka (I cheat and have beef instead of lamb), cottage pie… you name it, I’ll eat it! For me, as far as meat goes, bovine is divine.
However, despite my love for ground beef, I’m not exactly an all-round carnivore. I´ll never forget being ridiculed on my first trip over to Spain on a school language exchange for not eating the cured Iberian ham delicacy jamón serrano.
I was literally nicknamed el rarito – “the weird kid” – by the parents of my Spanish peers because I was the only pupil, my British classmates included, to turn my nose up at the classic bocadillo de jamón (ham sandwich) I was given in my packed lunch every day.
I felt as though I was the only person in the entire country who didn’t like it: as though my taste buds were in some way defective and could not appreciate the deliciousness of a plain white baguette filled with pork cold cuts and sliced tomato.
Meat (especially ham) has always played a huge role in daily life in Spain. The country’s varied climate means that certain regions are perfect for rearing meat-yielding livestock, hence it always makes it on to Spaniards' dining tables and is ever-present in their diet.
Indeed, there is a Spanish saying that goes, "del cerdo, hasta los andares", meaning you can eat every part of a pig from its snout to its tail. This is a great source of pride for Spaniards, who see the animal as very versatile in terms of gastronomy, and as such it has traditionally been an Iberian staple.
Times are changing
But things have changed massively in the last ten years or so that I’ve been living in Spain. Not in the sense that I, personally, have since succumbed to the charms of carved-up jamón – I’m still el rarito – but in the sense that there is a substantially higher number of non-meat eaters nowadays and many more Spanish eateries cater for vegetarians and vegans than ever before.
Funnily enough, Spain’s capital, Madrid, ranked seventh in Alternative Travelers’ “Top 10 vegan-friendly cities in Europe 2019”5, which is a (very unofficial, I might add) marker of how progressive Spanish food has become and how inclusive the dining experience now is.
Here on the Costa del Sol, there are hundreds of places to pick up a vegan snack or to sit down to a top-quality vegan meal. In this sense, the Coast really is blessed with a wide variety of food options for all preferences and dietary requirements.
If you are vegetarian or vegan and want some recommendations for a good veggie/vegan-friendly place to eat, leave me a message in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!