Most people may prefer beef, but veggie burgers have secured their place in the American diet.
Burgers may be one of America’s most iconic foods. In fact, we love burgers so much that even vegetarians want to enjoy them. There was a time when beef was the only thing that went in between two hamburger buns. But the veggie burger rose to popularity and created a whole new category in the market.
A vegetarian version of a hamburger was first created in the early 1980’s by two different men. Gregory Sams of London created the VegeBurger in 1982. He and his brother Craig had owned and operated a natural foods restaurant in England since the 1960’s. After the restaurant closed Sams went on to create another natural foods business called Harmony Foods. It was after a trip to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains in 1981 that Sams became ill and was forced to stay at home and rest for an extended period. It was during this time that he conceived the idea for VegeBurger.
Around 1981 a man named Paul Wenner created his own version of a veggie burger and called it Gardenburger. It was served at his restaurant, The Gardenhouse, in Gresham, Oregon. This product was so successful that he started selling it to other restaurants. He eventually closed his restaurant and founded Gardenburger, Inc. in 1985, dedicated to the manufacture and sale of the burger. Today the company sells its products to over 35,000 food outlets around the world.
Since the creation of these two pioneering burger alternatives many more types have been introduced. There remains today a large market for veggie burgers, we’re even serving them up at Gunther Toody’s in a classic 1950’s diner atmosphere!