A PLANT-based version of Burger King's Whopper is now available in UK restaurants - but IS NOT suitable for vegans or vegetarians.

The Rebel Whopper, which is made from soy, is not suitable for those avoiding meat or animal-based ingredients because of the way it is cooked.

Instead, the fast food chain, which has branches in Yeovil, Weston super Mare, Horton Cross and Yeovil, as well as at Bridgwater Services near North Petherton, says it is being aimed at "flexitarians" - people who eat meat but are cutting down on the animal-based food they eat.

Burger King marketing director, Katie Evans, said: "This really is a game changer - we wanted our first plant-based Whopper to replicate the indulgence and flame-grilled taste of the real thing as closely as possible, and we're thrilled with the result.

"We're delighted to satisfy the demand for this highly-anticipated product and finally bring the Rebel to the UK."

The soy patty, made with the Vegetarian Butcher, is served with tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles on a seeded bun.

It is not suitable for vegetarians because it is cooked on the same grill as the restaurant's beefburgers, but it is hoped it might encourage some meat eaters to cut down on their meat consumption.

Toni Vernelli, international head of communications and marketing at Veganuary, said: "For all of the important issues that Veganuary - and most vegans - are trying to address through their food choices it makes absolutely no difference whether the plant-based patty is cooked separately or on the same grill as the meat.

"What does make a big difference to animals and the planet is when non-vegans choose a plant-based menu option, enjoy it and then order it again.

"And that's exactly who Burger King's plant-based Whopper is aimed at, flexitarians who want to reduce their meat consumption for health or environmental reasons, or are considering going vegan."

The Rebel Whopper, already available in Ireland, went on sale to anyone in the UK with the Burger King app from today (January 6), and to everyone else from Wednesday.