ATLANTA — A growing number of restaurants are adding plant-based meat alternatives to their menus. Burger King, Red Robin, White Castle, Applebee’s and Qdoba are just some of the brands partnering with Impossible Burger. T.G.I. Fridays, Carl’s Jr. A&W and Del Taco now offer items made with Beyond Meat. Arby’s, on the other hand, is moving in a different direction.
The Inspire Brands, Inc. subsidiary recently announced it is working on creating a new food category: Meat vegetables, also known as “megatables.”
“Plant-based meats are the latest incarnation of making vegetables look like what Americans really want, which is great, tasty meat,” said Jim Taylor, chief marketing officer at Arby’s. “Universally, people know we’re supposed to eat vegetables every day. But 90% of Americans don’t eat that recommended amount. So, we said if others can make meat out of vegetables, why can’t we make vegetables out of meat?”
Mr. Taylor tasked Neville Craw, vice-president of culinary innovation and brand executive chef for Arby’s, with creating the first megetable.
“Jim called me and said it’s time for us to change this paradigm of turning vegetables into meat,” Mr. Craw said. “We kicked around some ideas and landed on creating the first-ever meat carrot, or marrot.”
Mr. Craw created the marrot by taking a whole turkey breast and cutting it into the shape of a carrot. He then sous-vided the meat and rolled it in a carrot marinade before roasting it for an hour.
Arby’s said it is in the early stages of exploring the megetables concept. The marrot is not yet available to guests, though Mr. Neville is continuing to work on filling out the meat-packed vegetable category.
“We want to continue to innovate in the space of meat craft that never existed before in ways that are surprising and delicious and exceed the expectations of what you can get through a drive-thru,” Mr. Taylor said.