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Tim Hortons testing line of Beyond Meat breakfast sandwiches

Tim Hortons testing line of Beyond Meat breakfast sandwiches
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Tim Hortons is testing a new line of breakfast sandwiches and wraps using sausage substitutes produced by Beyond Meat Inc., the popular California producer of meatless hamburger and sausage patties.

Tim Hortons said the test will start Wednesday at 60 restaurants around Toronto. If it proves there’s demand for the Beyond Meat products, Tim Hortons will launch the two menu items — a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich and Beyond Meat Farmers Wrap — across the country by the end of the summer. The coffee chain said it will also add a vegan breakfast sandwich, with Beyond Meat sausage, tomato and a biscuit baked on a separate line to avoid contact with animal products.

The Tim Hortons announcement comes in the middle of a Beyond Meat craze. Earlier this month, the California-based manufacturer shattered expectations with its stock market debut, surging from US$25 per share to well above US$70. In its prospectus ahead of the IPO, Beyond Meat pointed to its success with A&W in Canada, which launched a Beyond Meat burger last summer, as proof of “growing international demand for our products.”

The IPO drew worldwide attention toward Beyond Meat’s meat alternative — part of a new generation of convincing meat substitutes that use protein extracted primarily from yellow peas. The category has seen major investments, including US$310 million from Canadian meat processor Maple Leaf Foods Inc. to build a manufacturing facility. Beyond Meat said its products are carried in roughly 12,000 restaurants and outlets in the U.S. and Canada.

“I think we’re going to be one of the most affordable products on the market,” said Mike Hancock, Tim Hortons chief operating officer, of the two menu items. The breakfast sandwich will be $4.39; the wrap will be $4.99. At this point, Hancock said, Tims isn’t planning on a Beyond Meat burger, or any other Beyond Meat dish.

“There’s nothing slated. There’s nothing lined up. But we’re going to continue to do research,” he said. “If guests really demand the product … it could evolve into other lines.”

The move comes two months after A&W launched its own Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich — building on the success of the hamburger chain’s Beyond Meat burger, which caused fervour when it debuted and quickly sold out.

We’re going to be able to bring this type of product to more guests than even our competitors are

Hancock said the purpose of the test was to gain a better understanding of demand for the product, in light of its popularity elsewhere, to avoid sell-outs of its own.

Tim Hortons said it had been working with Beyond Meat for close to a year on the project.

Asked if Tims was caught off guard when A&W announced its own breakfast sandwich, Hancock said there is “plenty of room in the market for breakfast sandwiches.”

“We’re going to be able to bring this type of product to more guests than even our competitors are,” he said.

“We’ve got 4,000 restaurants. We’ve got restaurants in some of the most rural parts of the country. There’s folks who what these kinds of alternative protein … but don’t currently necessarily have access to it.”
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