Beyond Meat Confirms 3-Year Deal With McDonald’s, Major Collab With Yum! Brands KFC, Pizza Hut & Taco Bell

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Beyond Meat has just announced a two new global deals with the “holy grail” of QSR chains McDonald’s and fast food corporation Yum! Brands. The food tech will be supplying the Golden Arches with its plant-based patties for the three-year partnership, while also working with Yum! to launch plant-based menu items across the group’s iconic chains KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

El Segundo-headquartered plant-based meat leader Beyond Meat has revealed new global strategic partnerships with both McDonald’s Corporation, and Yum! Brands, the fast food operator of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell with its reach spanning 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries, the food tech revealed on Thursday (February 25).

In the partnership with McDonalds, Beyond Meat has entered into a three-year agreement to become the “preferred supplier” of its new McPlant burger, which is currently being trialled in Denmark and Sweden, before a wider roll-out in other global markets. In addition, both firms will “explore co-developing other plant-based menu items”, including chicken, pork and egg analogues.

It marks a major extension of the previous partnership it had with McDonald’s in 2019, which tested a Beyond Meat sandwich in Canada, move that Beyond Meat CEO and founder Ethan Brown described as an “exciting milestone for Beyond Meat” with the world’s biggest fast food restaurant with over 38,000 locations in 100 countries.

Entering into this strategic agreement is an important step on our journey to bring delicious, high quality, plant-based menu items to our customers.

Francesca DeBiase, Executive VP & Supply Chain Officer, McDonald’s
McDonald's McPlant Begins Trial Sweden, Denmark
The McPlant burger is currently being tested in Scandinavian markets (Source: Green Queen Media)

“We will combine the power of Beyond Meat’s rapid and relentless approach to innovation with the strength of McDonald’s global brand to introduce craveable, new plant-based menu items that consumers will love,” Brown added.

Francesca DeBiase, executive vice president and chief supply chain officer at McDonald’s, said that the new agreement is all about “giving customers more choices” and “entering into this strategic agreement is an important step on our journey to bring delicious, high quality, plant-based menu items to our customers.”

In the global collaboration with Yum! Brands, the two firms are set to co-create new plant-based protein menu items exclusive to KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell over the next few years, with no specific date or timeline mentioned about the deal. It is also an expansion of previous U.S.-based collaborations between all three restaurant chains and the food tech, as well as in mainland China, where the brands are independently operated by Yum China, in a move that Yum! Brands said was catered to the “evolving tastes of the consumers of today and tomorrow”. 

We look forward to expanding our work with the teams at Yum’s iconic KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands to together bring truly delicious plant-based product innovation to consumers.

Ethan Brown, Founder & CEO, Beyond Meat

Commenting on the landmark deal, Brown said: “We are honoured to enter into a global strategic partnership with Yum! Brands, one of the world’s largest restaurant companies.” 

Beyond Fried Chicken launch event in an Atlanta-area KFC chain in 2019. (Source: Beyond Meat)

“We look forward to expanding our work with the teams at Yum’s iconic KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands to together bring truly delicious plant-based product innovation to consumers,” Brown continued. 

Previous U.S. partnerships Beyond Meat has launched with Yum! Brands includes the introduction of Beyond Fried Chicken at KFC in 2019, the nationwide roll-out of two plant-based Beyond Meat pizzas across Pizza Hut in 2020, as well as most recently in January this year, teaming up with Taco Bell to “explore a new plant-based protein” that will be tested in the coming months. 

Speaking about the extension to an international strategic collaboration in a statement released on Thursday (February 25), Yum! Brands CFO Chris Turner said: “Today’s announcement builds on our strong relationship with Beyond Meat and, given the consumer response during recent tests with Beyond Meat, we’re excited about the long-term potential plant-based protein menu items have to attract more customers to our brands, especially younger consumers.” 

Beyond Meat and Pizza Hut partnered up in the U.S. in 2020 to launch two new pizzas nationwide. (Source: Beyond Meat / Pizza Hut)

“We expect this Beyond Meat partnership to strengthen our brands’ capability to offer delicious, plant-based menu items that are driven by consumer demand for more diverse protein options and our brands’ strategies in local markets,” Turner added. 

We’re excited about the long-term potential plant-based protein menu items have to attract more customers to our brands, especially younger consumers.

Chris Turner, CFO, Yum! Brands

While specific details of signature dishes that are set to launch over the coming months were not released, the two firms says these co-developed menu items will be “industry-defining” and will be targeted at “appealing to flexitarians”, in a clear show of the mainstream trend that big food is now racing to keep up with. 

Other food behemoths that Beyond Meat now lists as a partner includes CPG major PepsiCo, in a new joint venture called The PLANeT Partnership (TPP), which will develop, produce and market new snack and beverage products that are made with plant-based proteins, marking the first time the plant-based meat producer has entered into a new product category. 


Lead image created by Green Queen Media.


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