Vegetarian Fast Food

24 Jun

You’re travelling to meet the family. You’re on your lunch break prior to a meeting. You’re with your family at a service station on the way to the annual holiday. Where do you go for lunch? Well there’s plenty of those good old fast food places, McDonalds, Burger King or KFC? You see that man tucking into a Big Mac and can’t hold the hunger any longer. As you slowly wander over to the counter and peer up at the menu, you pause. What can you eat? Meat…meat…meat… Aren’t there any other options? Here in this article, we look at what is on offer in some of the biggest corporate companies, for the people who decide that they no longer want to eat meat.

While beginning my investigation, I wanted to hear what the companies had to say first on their policy on vegetarian food. On firstly ringing, KFC, they explained that they had ‘no policy.’ However there were sides available for veggies such as fries, beans, corn and coleslaw. Take out of that what you want but I wouldn’t say that these ‘sides’ were exactly filling or substantial. The other two companies to test were McDonalds and Burger King. They however weren’t getting back to me so I have decided to review their food fairly and look at the options available. In McDonalds, there was one veggie option (Veggie Deli) and no choice for children in the Happy Meals section. Unfortunately, after 8pm they no longer serve the veggie deli. McDonalds had this to comment when addressed on the issue, ‘A vegetarian Happy Meal has been trialled before but didn’t prove popular at the time. However, McDonald’s is always working hard to provide its customers with as much choice and value as possible and this is no different for vegetarian customers.’ Jan, 09. They go on to say that the fries, fruit bag and garden salad are wholly vegetarian. But not exactly what you go to a fast food restaurant for…

Moving on to Burger King. The said Veggie Burger actually turned out to be cooked in animal fat and their fries have only recently changed to becoming vegetarian. What is left? Onion Rings that contain whey and bagels, which contain egg. Burger King does not endorse that its milkshakes or ice creams are vegetarian suited either. In certain foods, the ingredients state that they are from ‘unknown sources.’ ‘Some places carry veggie burger, but they are usually cooked in the same oil that is used to cook meat.’ On their website, Burger King states, ‘Burger King Corporation makes no claim that the BK VeggieTM Burger or any other of its products meets the requirements of a vegan or vegetarian diet.’

Last, I followed up on the KFC frequently asked questions bit of their website. Someone has asked, ‘Why don’t you offer a vegetarian option?’ Their answer was much the same as when I spoke to them on the phone, ‘Currently we do not offer a vegetarian option due to the low demand. However, some of our sides may be suitable for vegetarians. Please visit the nutritional pages of this website for more information.’

While writing this article, I discussed with my colleagues what I was doing. One colleague told me that her friends had studied at Corpus Christi College in Oxford for 2 years. There had only been one vegetarian option on the menu and after 2 years of eating the same meal, she turned back to eating meat. When I tried calling the catering manager, she was unavailable and after being placed on hold for a long period of time, I gave up on speaking to them.

My aim here wasn’t to turn everybody reading this article into raging vegetarians (although that would be a perfect world) but just to point out that giving up meat shouldn’t be such a chore. Vegetarians should be respected instead of having to go out of their way for a decent meal. There should just be more awareness in the world that people who are purposely not eating animals are being forced to either return to it or go without of out of their way to have a basic meal.

For more information on where to go when you are out and about, this book comes recommended: The Vegetarian Resource Group.

About the writer: Becky has just finished a degree in English and Creative Writing and is very happy with her 2:1. She is friendly, bubbly and just so happens to be the co-creator of Yellow Bunting. She hopes you enjoy it and that you get involved!

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