Burger King’s UK franchises have recently introduced the new Halloumi Burger, made with the quintessential Cypriot product beloved by millions of people worldwide.
According to the Burger King UK website, “Served on a buttery brioche bun with freshly cut crisp lettuce, onions, tomatoes and creamy mayo, this new burger will ensure your love affair with halloumi* gets even stronger.”
However, the halloumi used in the new burger is fried in the same oil as chicken and fish. This is relevant to vegetarians who might assume that the Halloumi Burger is a vegetarian option, when technically it is not.
The fast food chain introduced the Halloumi Burger in Sweden in 2018, taking it later on to the UK, with hopes that US Burger King franchises will soon include the Cypriot taste sensation.
American Network Solutions, LLC President & CEO Philip Christopher noted in the New York-based newspaper The National Herald, “We have been eating Halloumi and tomato sandwiches for one thousand years. It’s amazing that they made the discovery! I wish Dennis Droushiotis was here.”
Droushiotis, also known by colleagues and friends as “Mr. Halloumi,” passed away in 2017 at the age of 64. He was a former Trade Commissioner in the United States for the Republic of Cyprus, and fought for the promotion of Cypriot products in the American market.
Droushiotis managed to make halloumi popular with American consumers, and the product can now be found in major supermarkets.
However, Burger King is facing a massive backlash from consumers after it was revealed that the halloumi burger is not actually vegetarian and that it is cooked in the same oil used to fry meat products, despite the promotion of the burger as a “meat free” option.
Consumers recently fired off a barrage of tweets complaining about the food chain’s frying method, which makes it a useless product for vegetarians.
One user tweeted: “I’m absolutely livid that The Halloumi Burger isn’t vegetarian as it’s cooked in animal fat – I’ve eaten 2 already! So disappointed!”
Another Tweet complained: “Just went to try the new Halloumi burger, lucky I read the very small print because it is fried in animal fat and i’m a vegetarian.”
Despite the outcry, the burger was never actually described by the fast-food chain as “vegetarian,” being given instead the term “meat free.”
A spokesperson told the UK-based newspaper Metro that they are unable at the moment to separate fryers and oil filtration systems in all their restaurants. He did say, however, that “this is a focus for us, and our team are actively looking into solutions for how we can change this in the future.”
Burger King does have a veggie burger, which is cooked separately from meat products since the patty isn’t fried, but baked.