McDonald’s plant-based burger trial unveiled

By Nick Hall | 30 Sep 2019 View comments

Global franchise giant, McDonald’s has finally weighed into the vegan and vegetarian market, launching a new partnership with alternative supplier brand Beyond Meat. The McDonald’s plant-based burger was unveiled by the Canadian arm last week, and is set for a 12-week trial in selected restaurants.

Affectionately known as the ‘P.L.T.’(plant, lettuce, tomato), the McDonald’s plant-based burger features a specially designed patty crafted by Beyond Meat, aimed at replicating the franchise’s famous flavours.

Ann Wahlgren, McDonald’s vice-president of global menu strategy said the partnership was a way of dipping the global chain’s toes into the developing vegan and vegetarian market.

“McDonald’s has a proud legacy of fun, delicious and craveable food—and now, we’re extending that to a test of a juicy, plant-based burger,” Wahlgren said.

“We’ve been working on our recipe and now we’re ready to hear feedback from our customers.”

The global strategist revealed that the feedback gathered would ultimately determine if the product would return as a regular menu addition, both in Canada and abroad.

“During this test, we’re excited to hear what customers love about the P.L.T. to help our global markets better understand what’s best for their customers,” she said.

“This test allows us to learn more about real-world implications of serving the P.L.T., including customer demand and impact on restaurant operations.”

Growing vegan demand

While the McDonald’s plant-based burger trial marks the chain’s first foray into the space, it follows a series of Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) innovations over the last few years.

Here in Australia, pizza chain Domino’s unveiled a series of plant-based pizzas, with McDonald’s major competitor Hungry Jack’s rolling out a vegan double cheeseburger to complement its already popular veggie whopper range.

In fact, Jack Cowin, founder of Hungry Jack’s franchisor Competitive Foods believes the domestic vegan market is so strong he has even formed a partnership with the CSIRO and Main Sequence Ventures to develop v2food, a new plant-based meat start-up.

“The challenge for the world is how do we feed 10 billion people?” Cowin told the Australian Financial Review in May. “Having them all eating meat is a very inefficient way to do this.”

McDonald’s plant-based burger trial

Cowin and McDonald’s move comes at a poignant time for the fast-food sector. According to research from Mintel Global New Products Database, the number of food products launched in Australia carrying a vegan claim increased by over 92 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

With one in seven Australians now indicating that they avoid or intend to avoid red meat in the immediate future, it seems the big burger chains are starting to take notice.

For vegan McDonald’s fans here in Australia, there is no word as to if and when the trial will head Down Under.

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