Burger King's Toronto-based parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc., has declined to comment due to pending litigation.
A vegan is suing Burger King, alleging the supposedly meatless Impossible Whopper actually contains meat by-products because it's cooked on the same grill as meat. It also seeks an injunction that would force Burger King to "plainly disclose" that it cooks Impossible Whoppers on the same grills as regular burgers. When Williams got his order, he checked that it was mayo-free and then ate the Impossible Whopper.
Others suggested that it was inconsistent for vegetarians to demand food options and then to sue the chain.
An "Impossible Whopper" sits on a table at a Burger King restaurant on April 1, 2019 in Richmond Heights, Missouri.
Controversy over Burger King's Impossible Burgers cooking methods were first sparked at the beginning of August when the chain's United States head, Chris Finazzo, told Bloomberg the vegan option would be cooked on the same broilers as chicken and beef.
According to the suit, Williams ordered the fake-meat burger in Atlanta, where he lives, but was horrified to learn that his burger was grilled on the same surface as the chain's beef burgers.
The lawsuit indicates that several other consumers have made similar complaints online about the chain's practice surrounding the sale of the Impossible Whopper.
"Went to @BurgerKing and asked for an impossible burger".
The suit accuses Burger King of false advertising and benefiting monetarily from offering a vegan option that is not in fact vegan.
Impossible Foods says the product was designed as a plant-based alternative for meat eaters. The growing trend in plant-based options is expected to be a big moneymaker in the restaurant world. Ball said companies with a broad customer base are not likely to try to appeal to vegan consumers as vegans make up an estimated one per cent of the U.S. population - and that "vegan" as a descriptor does not have particularly positive associations in the eyes of consumers; it fares even worse than descriptors like "diet" or "sugar free", Ball said. Instead, it features a soya-based veggie burger.