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Hopdoddy becomes first burger chain to hop on 100% seed-free oil with FootPrint portfolio company

Hopdoddy's chicken tenders and Nashville hot chicken sandwich are now clean-fried in Zero Acre oil
Image Credit: Hopdoddy/Zero Acre Farms // Hopdoddy's chicken tenders and Nashville hot chicken sandwich are now clean-fried in Zero Acre oil
  • Did you know that just one of Hopdoddy’s burger bars uses 44 acres of land just for its cooking oil? Not to mention the amount of CO2 and water needed! That’s why it's partnering with FootPrint Coalition portfolio company Zero Acre Farms.

  • Zero Acre’s sugarcane cooking oil will debut in ten locations across Texas, before making its way into all of Hopdoddy’s 47 locations, making it the first U.S. burger chain to commit to switching to 100% seed-free oil.

  • Right now, Hopdoddy uses soybean oil, but by making the switch, the chain is able to slash the amount of deforestation, water use, and emissions from the oil from its supply chain, ultimately generating 2,350 metric tons less of carbon emissions a year.

Mere months after receiving its first national chain deal with Shake Shack, FootPrint Coalition portfolio company, Zero Acre Farms is partnering with the national burger bar Hopdoddy to transition the restaurant chain fully from soybean oil with the startup’s seed-free version.

The move only drastically cuts back on the amount of deforestation and water used in the company’s supply chain that accounts for the soybean oil, but the switch to Zero Acre oil, which is cultured and made from rain-fed sugarcane plants, uses nine times less land than soybean oil.

Explaining the significance via LinkedIn, Zero Acre wrote: “Today marks a historic moment for the fast food industry, which for too long has relied on industrial seed oils and vegetable oils as a staple ingredient of nearly every menu item. Across the world, more vegetable oils are produced annually than all beef, chicken, cheese, and shrimp combined.” However, by making the switch, each Hopdoddy location saves 44 acres of land. That’s right, by just making this small switch, each location will now only use three acres of land for its cooking oil.

According to Hopdoddy’s Vice President of Innovation, Chef Matt Schweitzer, the chain’s guests have been asking the company to go seed-oil-free to better align with the company’s sustainability goals and the urgency demanded by the climate crisis.

To fill the job, the company found Zero Acre to be the “best fit” because “it has a neutral, clean taste that improves the flavor of our product. It offers a high level of healthy fats while also being immensely better for our planet,” Schweitzer said in a statement.

“We're really proud that this change falls right in line with our mission to serve high-quality food that leaves the planet better than we found it,” he added. “We hope Hopdoddy can be an example to other brands and lead the charge to more fully leverage products like Zero Acre in food service in the near future.”

Debuting in ten locations across Texas, in Austin, San Antonio, and San Marcos, the burger chain aims to switch every one of its 47 locations from California to Tennesee, enabling it to one day, save a total of 38 million square feet of land, and 250 million gallons of fresh water annually and 2,350 metric tons of carbon emissions a year. That’s 86% less the CO2 produced by creating soybean oil.

On top of the planetary benefits, Zero Acre’s oil is a healthier option, significantly lowering the body fats and the calorie count in Hopdoddy’s fried foods.

Hopdoddy fries
Image Credit: Hopdoddy/Zero Acre Farms // Hopdoddy’s shareable hand-cut fries are now clean-fried in Zero Acre oil

All of the fried items will be using Zero Acre’s oil, including the restaurant's five flavors of loaded brussels sprouts, chicken tenders, the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, and of course, the nine iconic sharable fries. (In fact, through the end of the month, Hopdoddy will be giving away a free fry bowl to customers who take a photo of themselves on the “9 sq ft of land” floor decal that signifies how much less land is used to make one bowl of fries in Zero Acre oil than in soybean oil.)

The partnership comes after Hopdoddy made the recent commitment to make a shift toward utilizing “100% regeneratively-raised meat sources,” which means the company is working to raise its bison and bacon in a way that works to “honor the systems of Mother Nature,” as Hopdoddy’s regenerative agriculture partner Force of Nature puts it.

“We care for the soil, respect diversity in plants and animals on the land, and focus on natural outcomes versus synthetic inputs,” the company writes on its website explaining the regenerative process. “That means no tilling, no synthetic chemicals, no hormones or antibiotics, and beautiful, wide-open spaces.”

According to Jeff Nobbs, co-founder and CEO of Zero Acre Farms, “It's rare to find a restaurant as trailblazing and discerning as Hopdoddy, evidenced by their delicious menu and their leadership in environmental stewardship.”

“With their commitment to regenerative agriculture and now their pledge to go 100% seed oil-free, Hopdoddy is redefining what it means to source responsibly,” he said in a statement. “At Zero Acre Farms, we are immensely proud to partner with a restaurant that doesn't just set the bar, but continuously raises it.”

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