SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — Hamburger chain Lotteria Co.’s new “Miracle Burger”, which as launched on Feb. 13, appears to be a success as reviews are flooding Instagram and Twitter, and the burger is gaining significant attention online.
The Miracle Burger is a vegetarian burger with plant-based ingredients, including the patty.
Assessments of the burger’s taste have varied. However, there is one thing in common with these reviews – the surprise that vegetarian food culture is becoming more and more diverse.
Vegetarianism and the stricter practice of veganism are seen by some as part of an approach to stay healthy, but abstaining from meat consumption has typically been considered as an unusual and unique philosophy shared by very few in South Korea.
Meanwhile, the fact that major Korean fast food chains have released hamburgers using plant-based ingredients is seen as a sign that vegetarian food is rapidly becoming common.
According to the Korea Vegetarian Union, the number of vegetarians in Korea jumped from just 100,000 in 2008 to 1.5 million last year.
It is too early to discuss the success or failure of the Miracle Burger because it has been less than a week since it was launched, but early sales have been encouraging.
According to Lotteria, about 20 Miracle Burgers are sold per store per day. This compares quite favorably to Lotteria’s most popular product, the Bulgogi Burger, of which an average of 65 are sold per store every day.
Some predict that the success of the Miracle Burger will also prompt other burger franchises to adopt plant-based offerings.
“While other companies will jump in when the domestic vegetarian market reaches a certain critical mass, many companies will be watching the current trend towards plant-based food,” said a source in the restaurant industry.
The retail industry is already moving fast. Since late last month, Lotte Mart has dedicated a section of its online mall to vegan products including food and cosmetics.
Meanwhile, Market Curly, an online grocery shopping platform, devoted a new section of its website to vegan products last month.
Furthermore, convenience stores – which are often seen as being most sensitive to consumption trends – are also targeting vegetarian food.
CU released “The Vegetarian’s Simple Meal Series” for the first time in the industry in November of last year. Products include lunch boxes, burgers and kimbap made from plant-based ingredients.
Also in November, 7-Eleven released dumplings made of plant-based ‘meat’ and hamburgers with meat substitute made of soy protein.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)