“I don’t think anybody can dictate to the consumer what it is they want to enjoy.” So said Jose Cil, the boss of Burger King’s American parent, Restaurant Brands International (RBI).
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Cil suggested that “quality food, choice and transparency” were more important than cutting calories (Burger King’s Texas BBQ King boasts 1,300 calories).
“You don’t have to have a Whopper with all of its glory and ingredients – you can have it your way, and you can have it without mayonnaise and a salad instead of French fries,” he explained.
Pressure has been growing on fast food companies to increase the number of healthy options on their menus and display more nutritional information.
Earlier this month, Unilever struck a deal with Burger King to supply its first plant-based burger for the UK market. However, it isn’t a low calorie option, with 608 calories compared to the Whopper’s 640, according to a report on Bloomberg.
The Sunday Times interview also tackled Burger King’s soya sourcing. In September, Greenpeace targeted the chain in a stunt linking its supply chain to the fires in the Amazon. “Not only does Burger King buy beef directly from Brazil, it is owned by a Brazilian billionaire through the company 3G Capital,” the campaigners said.
Cil told the Sunday Times that Burger King UK doesn’t source from the Amazon (which is different from sourcing from Brazil, with other areas like the Cerrado also being destroyed to rear cattle and grow soya). He said he is “investigating and working with suppliers” on the issue.
Earlier this year, RBI was among a number of foodservice companies that were said to be ignoring the environmental impact of their supply chains.