Wendy's, the third largest fast-food restaurant chain in the U.S., is making a big deal about re-entering the coveted Japanese market it left in 2009 after more than 30 years with an eccentric offering: A $16 hamburger topped with foie gras and truffle mushrooms.
After a two-year hiatus in Japan, the restaurant re-opened in a luxury Tokyo shopping area with a major focus on the high-end burger and plans for 700 new outlets across the country in hopes to compete with McDonald's—the number one fast-food chain in Japan.
Foie gras, a pate made primarily from goose liver in a method considered to be one of the cruelest livestock animal practices, requires that metal rods be shoved down the throats of the animals several times a day. This is done so that they can be force fed large amounts of grains that make the animals' livers more fatty, a process that creates the desired flavor and texture profile of the spread.
The goose feather down industry also relies heavily on birds (ducks or geese) from the foie gras industry, extending the demand to create more interest in foie gras and heightening the concern for animal rights activists and animal welfare groups working to stop the practice.
Officials for Wendy's stated that the Japanese market goose-liver burgers are not slated for entry into the U.S. market "anytime soon," but would not say definitively that the offering was out of the question. A ban on Foie gras will go into effect in California later this year.
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Image: Danny Choo