UPDATE: After publishing this post, McDonald’s sent us the following:
- In the same way McDonald’s does not run its own farms, we are not manufacturing our own plant-based meat for the McPlant platform; we will rely on our suppliers, the third leg of McDonald’s three-legged stool (which includes the company, franchisees and suppliers)
- Beyond Meat was our testing partner for the P.L.T. plant-based burger in Canada
- We have not announced which suppliers we will work with on McPlant
In its corporate blog post announcing the McPlant, McDonald’s wrote:
Last year, with those customers in mind, we tested our first plant-based burger in select restaurants in Canada. Based on what we learned and an encouraging response, we’re excited to give you a sneak preview of the McPlant – a delicious plant-based burger crafted for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s, and with the kind of craveable McDonald’s flavor our customers love.
In fact, we think our culinary team nailed it. There are other plant-based burgers out there, but the McPlant delivers our iconic taste in a sink-your-teeth-in (and wipe-your-mouth) kind of sandwich. It’s made with a juicy, plant-based patty and served on a warm, sesame seed bun with all the classic toppings.
Does this mean, Beyond could be a supplier for the McPlant? We’ve reached out to McDonald’s for further clarification.
UPDATE 2: Well this tale of two tweets certainly clarifies the situation. Beyond will be helping McDonald’s with its McPlant:
Original post follows:
McDonald’s announced today that it is creating its own line of plant-based meats dubbed, appropriately enough, “McPlant.” The McPlant will begin testing in markets next year and will be applied to both beef and chicken substitutes.
There’s been a big question mark around what McDonald’s plant-based strategy would be. Sales of plant-based meats have surged over the past couple of years, making the potential flexitarian market undeniable. While QSRs like White Castle and Burger King have rolled out versions of their burgers with Impossible Foods,McDonald’s has been relatively quiet about any forays it might make, at least here in the U.S.
After some tests with Beyond Meat in Canada, and the fact that a former McDonald’s CEO sits on Beyond’s board, there was speculation that Beyond would become Mickey D’s plant-base burger provider of choice. But that turned out to not be the case and McDonald’s decided to develop its own product internally. (See update above for clarification provided after this post went live.)
Having a heavyweight jump into the faux meat space could be a rising tide that lifts all plant-based boats. One Marketplace estimate from a few years back suggested that McDonald’s potentially sells more than 2 billion burgers a year. If the company can even convert a small percentage of its customer base to a plant-based alternative, that could spur those same people to seek out and buy more plant-based meats from their grocers and elsewhere. Getting millions of people to reduce their meat intake would also have benefits to the environment and our planet.
We are in a golden age of meat alternatives, with the likes of Impossible, Beyond and more developing products that are closer and closer to the real thing. Now the question is, can the golden arches push the whole plant-based sector forward?