America doesn’t run on plant-based sausage, Dunkin’ finds
America runs on Dunkin’ but it might not be ready to run on plant-based sausage sandwiches. The chain has removed the Beyond Sausage sandwich from thousands of its restaurants but is keeping it on the menu in several hundred locations.
Dunkin’s Beyond Sausage sandwich was introduced in 2019 as one of the early sandwiches featuring a plant-based patty at a major U.S. restaurant chain and backed it with marketing including giveaways and bonus points to its loyalty program members who bought the sandwich in the first few months. Snoop Dogg, a Beyond Meat investor, advertised plant-based sandwiches for Dunkin’ in early 2020. Its decision to slash distribution serves as a warning sign for other big chains that are also marketing meatless options to mainstream diners, including White Castle and Burger King.
“Beyond Meat: Knock(wurst)-ed Out of DNKN” was the subject line of a note sent Wednesday by Ken Goldman, food and retail analyst at J.P. Morgan. Dunkin’ recently discontinued the sandwich, he wrote in the note, citing discussions with a number of the coffee chain’s shops.
Ad Age could not find the Beyond Sausage sandwich nor a Dunkin’ breakfast wrap featuring Beyond on the chain’s online menu in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon.
But Dunkin’ announced that it continues to partner with Beyond Meat and is selling the product in certain locations.
“We maintain a strong relationship with Beyond Meat and will continue to work together to explore innovative plant-based options to meet consumer demand for plant-based menu items,” Dunkin’ said in a statement. “The Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich continues to be available at several hundred Dunkin’ restaurants throughout the country including in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Hawaii, Utah, Kansas, and Wyoming.”
A representative for Beyond Meat did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Shares of Beyond Meat declined 2.6% in after-hours trading.
Dunkin’, which has more than 9,000 U.S. restaurants, continues to bring out new products. It began selling strawberry-flavored popping bubbles as an add-on to cold drinks today, and introduced summer drinks including Sunrise Batch iced coffee, smoked vanilla cold brew with sweet cold foam, and a smoked vanilla iced latte.
The menu updates come as Dunkin’ has a new marketer with a strong beverage background leading the U.S. business. On Monday, the chain named Rafael Acevedo as its U.S. chief marketing officer. Acevedo held various roles at Coca-Cola North America, most recently serving as VP, marketing and general manager for Coca-Cola Co’s tea portfolio. He also led the 2018 relaunch of Diet Coke. At Dunkin', Acevedo fills the role vacated by Tony Weisman in late 2019.
Dunkin’ and Beyond eagerly launched the Beyond Sausage sandwich nationwide in November 2019 after a test that summer in Manhattan. Other U.S. chains including White Castle and Burger King were already featuring Beyond rival Impossible Foods’ plant-based hamburger-style patties at their restaurants, and Carl’s Jr. was slinging Beyond’s burgers, but Dunkin’ was early in the plant-based breakfast game. Starbucks in June 2020 introduced an Impossible breakfast sandwich.
The Dunkin’ Beyond Sausage sandwich features the meatless sausage patty, egg and American cheese on an English muffin.
“There is always a chance that the item will return; however, the locations said that to the best of their knowledge, there were no plans for this to take place in the immediate future,” Goldman wrote.