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Coming soon to the Mall of America: Vegan fast food

It looks like your typical fast food – but it's all plant-based.
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The Mall of America is the latest to jump on the vegan food craze, announcing a meat-free fast-food joint as the latest eatery coming to the Bloomington megamall.

MOA says the all-vegan fast-food joint Earth Burger will open on Level 3 in the south end in early 2018, offering vegan, kosher and gluten-free options.

It will be Earth Burger's "first Midwest location," the mall's news release says, but the company's website suggests it's Earth Burger's first location anywhere outside of San Antonio, Texas.

So what to expect on the menu?

Earth Burger has 50 dining options including its signature "Earth Burger," as well as fish-less sandwiches, grilled chik-n protein wraps and barbecue sandwiches.

Related:

The new vegan burger at TGI Friday's bleeds like real meat

Sides will include fries, kale salads, apple slices and "organically sweetened soda."

All meals are made with plant-based ingredients and feature no hydrogenated oils or artificial colors.

MOA leading the charge for younger customers

The drive to add a vegan fast-food option at the MOA makes sense, given that vegan food is increasingly popular among millennials and Generation Z.

These are the nation's next big spenders, and with younger consumers more health conscious about what they eat – and the social, environmental and ethical responsibilities of the retailers they patronize – the MOA is making a play for them.

It comes at a time of wider soul-searching from the operators of the nation's shopping centers as they fight the unstoppable tide of online retail.

Research shows the millennial generation values experiences over things, prompting malls to take steps to make visiting worthwhile even if they don't have a mind to shop.

It's led to more dining and entertainment options to complement retail stores, with the Mall of America among those making changes.

Along with Earth Burger, the mall recently offered free Uber rides and Hulu ambassadors to attract young shoppers in for Black Friday sales. 

And it is now home to more entertainment options, introducing go-kart/arcade spot Smaaash, strategy experience The Escape Game, and fly simulator FlyOver America in the past couple of years.

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