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McDonald’s has just started rolling out the much anticipated McPlant burger in the UK, which for the first time will be 100% vegan. From this month, several locations in England will begin selling the plant-based patty co-developed with food tech Beyond Meat, before expanding nationwide from 2022.
The world’s biggest fast food chain is now rolling out a vegan McPlant burger in the UK market. From late September, 10 restaurants in Coventry will trial the new plant-based option, which will feature a patty developed with Beyond Meat. Sandwiched between two dairy-free sesame buns, the patty will be topped with vegan cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickles, lettuce and sliced tomatoes.
100% vegan McPlant
Unlike other McPlant burgers tested in other countries that may feature dairy cheese and egg-based mayonnaise, the McPlant burger sold by McDonald’s UK and Ireland market will be 100% vegan and has been accredited as such by The Vegetarian Society.
It will also be cooked on a separate grill and using dedicated utensils, in order to avoid cross contamination with animal-based products and ingredients.
Rival QSR giant Burger King has taken similar steps for its UK market, launching several certified vegan products recently, including a 100% plant-based Chicken Royale and Whopper. Other Burger Chains that have debuted a meatless Whopper have often added dairy or egg ingredients, making the items suitable for vegetarians but not vegans.
McDonald’s UK and Ireland CMO Michelle Graham-Clare says the chain has taken more time to launch the burger in the UK to “ensure it meets the highest standards and is something that all our customers will enjoy.”
Nationwide launch in 2022
The trial of the McPlant burger across 10 Coventry locations comes ahead of McDonald’s plan to expand the offering to 250 more outlets by the end of this year. In 2022, McDonald’s will start selling the McPlant at all its locations nationwide in the UK and Ireland.
The chain operates an estimated 1,300 restaurants in the country, and around 36,000 worldwide. So far, McDonald’s has kept its McPlant trials within European markets, including Denmark, Sweden and Austria.
It has not released details on when it plans to launch the McPlant, which was co-developed by Californian company Beyond Meat, in the US. McDonald’s first announced its intentions to offer plant-based options back in November 2020, at the time saying it would eventually include other meatless menu items such as chicken alternatives.
Plant-based takes over fast food
Demand for vegan food has surged in recent years, especially in the wake of the pandemic, which has raised awareness of health and sustainability among consumers. Movements such as Veganuary have seen its popularity skyrocket, with a record number of over 582,000 participants globally this year.
Post-pledge surveys found the UK was tied with the US with the top number of sign-ups to try out a plant-based diet for the month of January. Polls also indicated that as many as 85% of pledgers now plan on shifting to a plant-based diet permanently.
With mainstream consumers opting to go plant-based or flexitarian more than ever before, McDonald’s is just the latest in a long line of QSR chains now adding vegan and vegetarian dishes to their menus. Aside from working with the Golden Arches, Beyond Meat has managed to sign deals with Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.
Burger King has chosen to work with players like Unilever subsidiary The Vegetarian Butcher, as well as Aussie food tech v2food. In Thailand, KFC has partnered with local brand Meat Zero to supply its new vegan fried chicken.
Lead image courtesy of McDonald’s.