Smashburger Shakes Up A New Plant-Based Dessert Offering

These days, fast food joints that have yet to introduce plant-based meat alternatives to their burger menus are the odd ones out. From Burger King to McDonald's to Wendy's, a slew of multinational chains have successfully rolled out Impossible Whoppers and Beyond burgers that use plant proteins to mimic the taste and texture of beef. McDonald's even saw an increase in sales when it added the vegan McPlant to its menu, and in doing so, won over its longtime adversary: the animal rights organization PETA. Plus, according to an April news release from Beyond Meat, shoppers can expect to see a lot more vegan meat replacements — including chickenless chicken tenders — both in grocery stores and on fast food menus. 

But what about dessert? Thanks to a partnership with Eclipse Foods, Yahoo! Finance reports that the Colorado-based chain Smashburger has something new in store for vegan and lactose intolerant diners with a sweet tooth.

A milkshake that brings the vegans to the yard

According to Yahoo! Finance, Smashburger's first plant-based shakes are available nationwide in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, peanut butter, Tangerine Dream, and Oreo. The dairy- and lactose-free treats are made in collaboration with Eclipse Foods, a company co-founded by James Beard-nominated chef Thomas Bowman. The company currently offers six ice cream flavors in addition to a sizeable archive of "chef-crafted" flavors born from sold-out collaborations with acclaimed restaurants like Pig and Khao, Win Son, and Monsieur Benjamin. Per Yahoo, the brand "replicates micelles (the magic of dairy milk) from plants to create the world's first plant-based dairy products that taste and function just like dairy," while also excluding common allergens like gluten, soy, coconut, and nuts, as well as "gums and stabilizers." 

Only time will tell if Smashburger's competitors follow suit by expanding their plant-based offerings into the dessert category. Based on the research that suggests plant-based products are here to stay, it seems safe to assume that fast food chains will continue to cater to animal-free consumers.