Media Moves

McDonald’s to test plant-based burger

September 27, 2019

Posted by Irina Slav

McDonald’s has struck a deal with Beyond Meat to test their plant-based burger in Canada.

Michelle Chapman had the news for AP:

McDonald’s is finally taking a nibble of the plant-based burger.

McDonald’s said Thursday that will sell the PLT, or the plant, lettuce and tomato burger for 12 weeks in 28 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario by the end of the month. McDonald’s says it developed a special recipe using burgers from Beyond Meat, a California-based startup that makes “meat” from pea protein, canola oil, beet juice and other ingredients.

The small-market test is rolling out about six months after rival Burger King began testing the plant-based Impossible Foods burger, a rival to Beyond Meat. It’s now selling the Impossible Whopper nationwide because of strong demand from customers.

The entry of McDonald’s, the world’s largest burger chain, into the alternative meat arena has largely been seen as a question of when, and not if. Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. rose more than 11% to close at $154.34.

The burgers aren’t really aimed at vegans or vegetarians, but at meat eaters who perceive plant-based eating as healthier and more environmentally conscious. In a recent survey, the consulting firm AlixPartners found that 61% of U.S. meat eaters sometimes order vegan or vegetarian food at restaurants.

Yahoo Finance’s Abigail Fenton reported:

This comes six months after Burger King launched its own plant-based burger, made with Impossible Foods patties, which are compromised of soy and potato rather than meat.

Shares in the Beyond Meat rival jumped 16% after the partnership was announced.

Ann Wahlgren of McDonald’s told the Telegraph: “This test allows us to learn more about real-world implications of serving the PLT, including customer demand and impact on restaurant operations.”

Beyond Meat already appears on KFC, Carl’s Jr and Del Taco menus.

US pizza chain Little Caesars announced in May it will launch a meatless “sausage” crumble, made by the Impossible Foods brand.

A petition for Wendy’s to add a plant-based burger to its menu, launched earlier this month, has already gained 26,000 signatures, as of Friday.

Earlier this year, Tesco began selling vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives in its meat isles.

Research by Waitrose shows about one in five (21%) Brits are trying to reduce their meat intake, while one in eight are vegan or vegetarian.

Data from Nielsen shows almost two in five (39%) of Americans are trying to eat a more plant-based diet.

“During this test, we’re excited to hear what customers love about the PLT to help our global markets better understand what’s best for their customers,” said Wahlgren.

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

Tomi Kilgore from MarketWatch noted Beyond Meat’s stock had soared on the news:

Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. soared in early Thursday trading, after McDonald’s Corp. said it will launch in Canada a test using a plant-based burger patty made by the company.

The burger is called the P.L.T., which stands for plant-lettuce-tomato, and will be sold in 28 restaurants starting Sept. 30 in southwestern Ontario. The trial is slated to run for 12 weeks.

Beyond Meat’s stock BYND, +11.58%  shot up as much as 16% before paring some gains to be up 11% in afternoon trading. Trading volume swelled to 7.4 million shares, which was more than the full-day average of about 3.1 million shares.

McDonald’s shares MCD, +0.32% gained 0.2%.

The P.L.T. will be made with a plant-based patty from Beyond Meat that has been crafted by McDonald’s, with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and will feature a sesame seed bun. It will cost C$6.49 ($4.90), before tax.

“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,” said Ann Wahlgren, McDonald’s vice president of global menu strategy. “We’ve been working on our recipe and now we’re ready to hear feedback from our customers.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson told MarketWatch that guests will be able to customize their P.L.T.s, by requesting to hold the cheese and mayo, or any ingredients. “[H]owever, the patty will be cooked on the same grill as other burgers, meat-based products and eggs,” a spokesperson said.

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