Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has teamed up with hospitality organisation The Cream Group to launch the world’s first international, plant-based burger chain, Neat Burger.
The chain will serve up burgers and hotdogs created by a team of chefs in collaboration with plant-based meat producer Beyond Meat, whose products have been distributed across the United States since 2013.
Beyond Meat burgers are made from proteins taken from peas, rice, mung beans, as well as various oils and potato, apple, and sunflower extracts.
The restaurant will launch three burgers – The Neat, The Cheese and the Chick’n – as well as a hot dog option, skinny fries, sweet potato fries and tater tots.
The restaurant chain will also stock Just Water, an eco-conscious brand launched by actor Jaden Smith, as well as ethically-produced sodas and plant-based milkshakes and alcoholic beverages.
Rather than being a restaurant chain for vegan diners, Neat Burger hopes to appeal to all individuals by offering meat-free dishes that “tastes as good as, if not better than meat” according to Ryan Bishti of The Cream Group.
“As someone who follows a plant-based diet, I believe we need a healthier high street option that tastes amazing but also offers something exciting to those who want to be meat-free every now and again,” Hamilton said.
Neat Burger will open its first restaurant in London on Monday, 2 September, before launching in 14 more locations globally over the next two years.
Neat Burger: Helping to tackle climate change
According to a 2018 Oxford University study, livestock farming contributes to approximately 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally.
“The meat industry is the biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions and its environmental impact is no longer sustainable together with the growth of the population,” Tommaso Chiabra, an investor in Beyond Meat, explained. “Neat Burger aims to disrupt the non-sustainable food industry and become a force for good.”
Lab-grown meat has also been proposed as an alternative to livestock farming as a way to reduce the environmental impact of meat production. However, questions have been raised over whether growing meat in a lab would actually reduce the impact, or just contribute to global warming in a different way.
Lab grown meat produces carbon dioxide, rather than methane. While methane has a much larger warming impact, it only stays in the atmosphere for approximately 12 years. On the other hand, carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
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“This is important because while reducing methane emissions would be good – and an important part of our climate policies – if we simply replace that methane with carbon dioxide it could actually have detrimental long-term consequences,” Dr John Lynch, a researcher from Oxford University, previously told Verdict.
The Oxford study concluded that the best way to reduce the industry’s environmental impact is to avoid meat and dairy products.