Excited about the new option for a plant-based option Dunkin’s menu? You may have student climate activist Lana Weidgenant to thank for that.
Over the summer, the 20-year-old Johns Hopkins student heard Dunkin’ was considering adding the plant-based breakfast meat, Beyond Breakfast Sausage, to its menu. To motivate the breakfast giant to make the move, Weidgenant created a Change.org petition to show Dunkin’ executives how popular it would be if they add the new menu item. The petition quickly went viral, garnering over 19,500 signatures.
Dunkin’ executives got the message loud and clear, announcing on Twitter they’d be adding a limited release of the Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sausage Sandwich to their New York menus, with a nationwide release to follow on November 6.
With the success of the Beyond Sausage Breakfast sandwich coming to Dunkin’s menu, Weidegenant has set her sights on some of your other favorite breakfast and fast-food locations. She recently spoke with Parentology about her ongoing quest to bring more sustainable, and environmentally friendly, foods to American dining establishments.
Why Dunkin’ as a starting place for your plant-based breakfast campaign?
I loved Dunkin’ growing up and would frequent the chain regularly before changing my diet [to vegan] for animals, health, and environment [reasons] and finding that there were no longer any options accessible for me to eat at Dunkin’ — that is, until now!
Dunkin’ also made business sense to talk about at the time as Tim Hortons, the well-known Canadian breakfast and coffee chain, had just recently launched a Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich across all their 4,000 locations in Canada. As my petition said: The Time Is now for Dunkin’ to join 2019!
What other companies are you targeting to request plant-based options on their menus?
I’m extremely excited about the amazing opportunity for Wendy’s to add a plant-based burger to their menu. The option would resonate well with modern customers, bring in new clientele, and tap into the massive momentum around plant-based burgers now being offered at Burger King across the United States, and in so many more locations.
Have you received any negative feedback?
Yes. Some people don’t understand why we would want to advocate for more plant-based options, especially within these chains. Others don’t believe we should be working together with the businesses at all and complain plant-based meat isn’t a perfect health food.
It’s correct that plant-based meat does involve processing and isn’t as healthy as a whole food, plant-based diet. However, plant-based meat is healthier than other high meat options offered at these establishments. If we want a mass shift towards more plant-forward diets — for our health, climate mitigation, and animals — we need a mass change in accessibility to plant foods.
Fast-food chains are ubiquitous, they’re located in almost every community, so when we’re able to have fast-food chains such as Dunkin’ add a more plant-forward, healthier item to their national supply chain, that truly revolutionizes plant-based accessibility.
With just the Dunkin’ victory this week, plant-based menu items were brought to 9,000 more locations across the United States.
If you’d like to add your name to the growing list of people requesting plant-based menu options, visit the Change.org links below.