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Thousands petition to get In-N-Out to add a veggie burger to the menu

In-N-Out's menu is renowned for its simplicity: Fries. Shakes. Burgers, cheesed or otherwise. A soda if you're thirsty. 

But non-meat-eaters aren't satisfied. Thousands of people have signed a Change.org petition asking the burger chain to add a veggie burger to the menu.

Fans of the In-N-Out  "secret menu" (a not-so-secret list of items not included on the regular menu) will be quick to point out that you can order a grilled cheese. But that's not good enough, argues the Good Food Institute, the nonprofit organization that created the petition.

"If you want a meat-free meal at In-N-Out, you’re going to be stuck eating multiple orders of French fries or a cheese-slathered bun," the petition reads.

Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute, described the 501(c)(3) organization as having a four-pronged mission to increase the availability of plant-based, sustainable and humane alternatives to traditional meat products. Part of that mission is "corporate engagement" — encouraging chains such as In-N-Out to embrace plant-based entree options.

He said the Irvine-based business is falling behind chains such as Burger King, Wendy's and White Castle, which already offer meat alternatives.

"Southern California is a mecca for plant-based eating and food consciousness," Friedrich said. "In-N-Out should be leading the charge on making it easier to eat food that is sustainably produced, healthy and humane. It will send a powerful message that their company cares about their consumer and recognizes the harms of factory farming, both of which it makes tremendous sense for a Southern California-based company to be leading on."

As of Thursday afternoon, nearly 30,000 people had added their names to the Change.org petition. But not everyone is convinced.

"As a vegetarian myself, this is a stupid petition," reads the top-rated comment on the petition, written by Barret M. "Why, as a vegan, would you want to support a company that slaughters cows by the thousands? I wouldn't ask Lucille's BBQ to make me vegan ribs."

When reached by phone, the In-N-Out corporate office had no official comment on the matter. But the company is aware of the petition.

Ideally, Friedrich said, the Good Food Institute would like the veggie burger to be added to In-N-Out's standard permanent menu, which he feels would send a stronger message about the importance of plant-based food. But barring that, he'd be willing to settle for inclusion on the not-so-secret menu.

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Tell Jessica about your favorite meatless fast food on Twitter @jessica_roy.

jessica.roy@latimes.com

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