Shake Shack launches nationwide rollout of veggie burgers and shakes

Shake Shack used AI to help it launch a new line of plant-based burgers rolling out this week.
Fast-casual chain Shake Shack used A.I. to help it launch a new line of plant-based burgers.
Jeenah Moon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Fast food chain Shake Shack is rolling out a new meatless burger using a medley of vegetables rather than alternative proteins like soy.

“Born out of testing many different veggie burger iterations in our NYC Shacks, the Veggie Shack is made from a proprietary blend of real garden vegetables and grains, seared to perfection,” it wrote in a statement on Tuesday, adding it will be added to the core menu beginning May 5.

While the patty is entirely plant-based, the burger itself is not vegan, as the cheese, sauce, and bun include dairy products.

Replacing beef and dairy can reduce the impact food has on climate since animal husbandry is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas.

For the new non-dairy chocolate shake and frozen custard, Shake Shack is using NotMilk, a plant-based beverage from the Not Company (NotCo.), a maker of vegetarian food products.

“Partnering up with Shake Shack used to be a dream of mine and one of the most ambitious milestones for NotCo,” Matías Muchnick, CEO and cofounder of NotCo, said in a statement.

“Having a tailored NotCo product in Shake Shack stores nationwide is a clear statement of our ability to create elevated tailor-made delicious and profitable versions of products in record time that appeal to the mass market.”

NotMilk was at least partially developed by NotCo using artificial intelligence. Created by NotCo’s resident computer scientist and cofounder Karim Pichara, the A.I. hunts for patterns in the attributes of food otherwise hidden to the average food scientist with the ultimate goal of constantly learning. NotCo claims the A.I.’s inherent ability to improve should progressively help reduce a new product’s time to market.

May 3, 2023: Correction: A previous version of this story misstated that A.I. was used to create the new Shake Shack veggie burger. 

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