In an attempt to appeal to an increasingly flexitarian customer base, McDonald’s is expanding its McPlant burger to 600 locations in the U.S.
Beginning February 14, the fast-food giant will test its plant-based burger in locations throughout the San Francisco Bay and Dallas-Fort Worth areas.
The McPlant patty, which contains ingredients like peas, rice, and potatoes, was co-developed by Beyond Meat. The burger features lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, and ketchup, as well as conventional mayonnaise and cheese. McDonald’s prepares the patty on equipment shared with animal-based products.
McDonald’s previously tested the meat-free burger for a limited time in eight select restaurants last November. Locations included Irving and Carrollton, Texas; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Jennings and Lake Charles, Louisiana; and El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, California.
The company started trialing the McPlant burger in several other markets, including Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, and Austria, last year. “By being the market where McPlant is tested, we are given the opportunity to show that a plant-based burger has great potential on McDonald’s menu,” said Joachim Knudsen, CEO of McDonald’s Sweden.
Earlier this year, the UK’s McPlant became available nationwide. Unlike the U.S. version, it features vegan sauce and non-dairy cheese by the chain’s own dairy supplier, Kerry Foods.
McDonald’s McPlant burger
In November 2020, McDonald’s international president, Ian Borden, hinted at more vegan options during an investor meeting.
“McPlant is crafted exclusively for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s,” he said at the meeting. “In the future, McPlant could extend across a line of plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes, and breakfast sandwiches.”
Vegan patties aren’t a first for McDonald’s. The chain has tested vegan burgers in a number of other markets. In September 2019, it tested a Beyond Meat burger in Ontario.
Other international vegan menu offerings include a pea-based veggie goujon wrap, which the chain offers in the UK. And McDonald’s Germany launched a “Big Vegan TS” burger, which features Nestlé’s plant-based Incredible Burger patty.
McDonald’s Sweden credited the growing popularity of plant-based foods for its initial launch of the McPlant. A 2020 survey by market research firm Kantar-Sifo found more than one-third of Swedes consume a flexitarian diet.
“McPlant offers a completely new taste experience, but still with the same iconic McDonald’s taste as usual,” Staffan Ekstam, marketing manager at McDonald’s Sweden, explained. “Our herbal burger is for all our guests – both those who are eager to try something new, and as an additional alternative for all the guests who today eat flexitarian.”