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C-stores encroach on restaurants' plant-based menus

Sheetz has become the first convenience-store chain to sell the meatless Beyond Burger, joining several other retailers who've added plant-based menu items recently.
Photograph courtesy of Sheetz Inc.

Convenience stores are adding more plant-based items to their menus, proving to be a growing source of competition for restaurants looking to woo diners wanting meatless options. 

Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz Inc. launched the plant-based Beyond Burger in all of its 597 locations Monday. It is the first continental U.S. convenience-store chain to introduce the Beyond Burger, the retailer said, and it joins several other c-store chains in offering plant-based options.

Produced by Beyond Meat, El Segundo, Calif., the burger is made with protein-heavy meat alternatives such as pea protein isolate, rice protein and mung bean protein. It also contains potato starch, apple extract, salt, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, sunflower lecithin and other ingredients.

Customer have seven bread choices, seven cheese options, 20 toppings and 13 spreads to choose from when customizing Sheetz’s Beyond Burger, which retails for $6.99.

“Sheetz is constantly innovating and adding new menu items to give our customers what they want, when they want it, 24/7,” said Dan Coffin, lead chef and assistant vice president of culinary development for Sheetz. “As demand for healthier, diverse protein options increases, we are excited to add the Beyond Burger to our menu in our continual mission to be the ultimate one-stop shop.”

Sheetz is one of many c-store chains to have caught the plant-based burger bug this year. GetGo Cafe & Market, a division of Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, introduced the Perfect Burger on its menu in October, while Rutter’s, York, Pa., and Minit Stop, Hawaii, added the Impossible Burger to its menus. The Perfect Burger is made with four kinds of vegetables: sweet potato, butternut squash, beet and carrot. The Impossible Burger is made with 100% plant ingredients, including water, plant proteins, sunflower oil, coconut oil and heme.

“We’re excited to bring the Beyond Burger to all Sheetz locations nationwide in an effort to continue our mission of making plant-based meat accessible to all,” said Tim Smith, vice president of sales and foodservice for North America for Beyond Meat. “We’re all about providing options, and the launch of the Beyond Burger at Sheetz will provide busy, on-the-go Sheetz customers with a plant-based option that doesn’t sacrifice the meaty taste and texture they crave in a burger.”

Sheetz is a family-owned and -operated c-store chain with nearly 600 locations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and North Carolina. It is No. 14 on CSP's 2019 Top 202 ranking of c-store chains by number of retail locations.

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