What Is The P.L.T

McDonald’s McPlant Burger
Courtesy: McDonald’s


  • In December, participating McDonald’s locations sold roughly 70 McPlant burgers per outlet every day, according to Piper Sandler.
  • The burger chain began testing the plant-based burger created with Beyond Meat in eight restaurants in November, with a wider-scale test planned to begin Feb. 14.
  • Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery wrote that the boost to Beyond’s U.S. revenue could be as high as $215 million annually.
The US McPlant comes with “real” American cheese.

McDonald’s McPlant burger is more popular than initially expected, according to Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery.

In December, participating locations sold roughly 70 of the plant-based burgers it created with Beyond Meat per outlet every day in the chain’s initial small test of the menu item.

The fast-food giant began testing the McPlant burger in November in eight restaurants to get a sense of how it would affect its operations. On Feb. 14, the chain will expand the test to about 600 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay and Dallas-Fort Worth areas to learn more about consumer demand.

Lavery wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday that test locations were selling about three times more McPlant burgers than he initially forecasts. For comparison, an average McDonald’s restaurant typically sells about 110 Big Macs per day.

Even with such a small sample size, Lavery said that early interest and willingness to try the product may be greater than expected, which would be a win for Beyond. He initially estimated a $75 million to $100 million boost in Beyond’s U.S. revenue due to the McPlant.

“While we believe test stores likely received a lift from exclusivity (drawing some sales from nearby stores that did not offer it), and that sustainable, repeat sales will settle in at a much lower rate; initial McPlant sales could prove to be closer to 8% to 10% of burger sales, or $170 million to $215 million (annualized),” he wrote.

For Beyond Meat, a nationwide launch of the McPlant burger would be a massive opportunity to impress consumers with its meat substitutes, in addition to the revenue lift just from sales to McDonald’s. Wall Street analysts have grown bearish on the stock, saying the company is struggling with competition and falling U.S. grocery sales.

Beyond’s stock rose nearly 3% in premarket trading on Wednesday, while shares of McDonald’s were up just 1%. Shares of Beyond have fallen 66% over the last 12 months, dragging its market value down to $3.99 billion. McDonald’s stock, on the other hand, climbed 17% in the same time, bringing its market value to $195 billion.

Posted: November 2nd, 2021

Mat Smith/Engadget

McDonald’s first plant-based burger (ignoring the veggie “burgers” that have come before it) finally goes on limited sale in the US later this week.

Following a brief trial in Canada in 2019, the McPlant has been on a wider tour of McDonald’s franchises in Europe. Ahead of its debut next week, I decided to try out the McPlant here in the UK, where it’s been available in selected restaurants for over a month. The TLDR review is that it tastes like… a McDonald’s burger.

I’ve had better (and worse) burgers, both plant and animal-based, but the launch itself is a major deal for the future of plant-based burgers in general. Whether you eat there or not, you can’t avoid the fact that this is the world’s biggest fast-food chain attempting a burger that tastes of meat — without using any meat.

McDonald’s is a little late to the plant-based patty party. In 2019, its rival Burger King started selling its own Impossible Whopper, recruiting Impossible Foods to help create a meat-free patty for its iconic menu item.

The launch wasn’t without issues though. Depending on location, the Impossible Whopper launched at roughly $1-2 dollars more than the beef-based original. (The chain eventually cut prices, due to slowing sales according to Bloomberg.)

Then there was the class-action lawsuit, because the Impossible Whopper, while entirely plant-based, was being cooked on the same surfaces as meat and dairy products. A vegan customer said that ads that said “100% Whopper, 0% Beef” were misleading. A Florida judge eventually dismissed the case, but not before it made headlines, and ensured that, from then on, Burger King stipulated that its plant-based Whopper was prepared on surfaces that came into contact with meat and dairy items, meaning that it was subsequently not vegan.

McDonald’s takes a similar approach on its corporate site, saying that the McPlant will be “cooked on the same grill as meat-based products and eggs“. In even more certain terms, the McPlant features American cheese and mayonnaise, which make it far from vegan-friendly.

McDonald's McPlant plant-based burger
The US McPlant comes with “real” American cheese.

However, McDonald’s UK and Ireland took three years to develop their own take on the McPlant, and it ticks the vegan box. Alongside the co-developed Beyond Meat patty, this particular McPlant comes in a vegan sesame bun, uses a pea-protein-based ‘cheese’ slice, and a new vegan sauce that tastes somewhere between mayonnaise and the Golden Arches’ own burger sauce. (I really wish they’d given the sauce some kind of name, just to make it less… mysterious.) I think it’s meant to be a mayonnaise substitute.

The new menu item has also been given the Vegetarian Society’s vegan accreditation, because on top of those recipe changes, here in the UK it is cooked and prepared separately to non-vegan products. For now, the US McPlant is neither vegan nor vegetarian and will come with a slice of American cheese and mayonnaise. The burger is also cooked on the same grill as meat – and egg-based products.

But back to my McPlant. With lettuce, tomato, pickles and that faux cheese slice, the UK version of the McPlant burger are more substantial than a standard McDonald’s cheeseburger.

McPlant plant-based burger from McDonald's

From what I’ve been told, the composition and the Beyond Meat patty remain the same in the McDonald’s USA version. Like other high-end plant-based burgers given the mainstream treatment, it tastes meaty and the — I hate this word — mouthfeel tells my brain that I’m chewing on a McDonald’s burger.

The good thing about using plant-based meat substitutes in a burger is that the patty is just half the story. How it’s cooked, the toppings, the seasoning, and the sauce add an awful lot (often more) to the flavors and textures.

Each bite is literally a cross-section of the entire burger, and so even if you think rival plant-based patties (like Impossible Foods’) are better than Beyond’s, once it’s cooked, stacked and in your hands, for most of us, a patty that’s marginally tastier is irrelevant.

Despite that, the burger itself does taste like a McDonald’s beef hamburger. So that’s a success. (I’m less sold on the fake cheese slice, but the majority of vegan cheese options taste terrible too, so not sure I can blame McDonald’s entirely here.)

The economies of scale are why the McPlant matters. Depending on how the US trial at eight restaurants fares, McDonald’s patrons might be willing to swap out their beef-based burger for a McPlant — if it tastes the part — and that could have a tangible effect on how much meat is both consumed by the public — and how much is farmed.

Halfway through eating the McPlant, I realized that it reminded me of a Burger King Whopper. (I can’t wait to read the comments after this.) 

But I’m a Big Mac man, myself. Maybe a Big MacPlant is next?

The McPlant, McDonald’s meatless burger that was concocted jointly with Beyond Meat, is selling better than expected, according to a senior analyst.

Each of the eight select McDonald’s locations that first began offering the McPlant to customers in November sold around 70 of the meatless sandwiches every day in December, according to Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery.

Lavery’s earlier projections had McDonald’s selling a third of that figure, according to CNBC.

That’s impressive, according to Lavery, given that the average McDonald’s restaurant sells 110 of its signature Big Macs each day.

Last week, the fast-food giant announced that it would be expanding its pilot roll-out of the McPlant to 600 new locations throughout Texas and California.

Lavery predicted that consumer demand for the McPlant would translate to an additional $75 million to $100 million in revenue for Beyond Meat.

“While we believe test stores likely received a lift from exclusivity (drawing some sales from nearby stores that did not offer it), and that sustainable, repeat sales will settle in at a much lower rate; initial McPlant sales could prove to be closer to 8% to 10% of burger sales, or $170 million to $215 million (annualized),” he wrote.

The McPlant features a patty created by Beyond Meat, the Los Angeles-based meat alternative company.
The McPlant features a patty created by Beyond Meat, the Los Angeles-based meat alternative company.

Shares of McDonald’s rose by more than 1% in morning trading on Wall Street on Wednesday. Beyond Meat’s stock price rose by nearly 3%.

McDonald’s has already rolled out the McPlant in several European markets, including Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, and the United Kingdom.

The meat-free patty is made from ingredients including peas, rice, and potatoes, and it will be served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and American cheese, the company said.

McDonald’s has been slower to jump on the white-hot plant-based meat trend than its peers. Burger King introduced its meatless burger, the Impossible Whopper, in August 2019. Wendy’s and Taco Bell have also introduced meatless options on their menus.

Beyond Meat, the Los Angeles-based maker of plant-based meat alternatives continues to partner with legacy companies in the food and beverage space.

McDonald’s noted that the patty is cooked on the same grill as meat-based and egg products. Also, customers may request that their sandwiches be made without cheese and mayonnaise.

All Bay Area McDonald’s are participating in the test marketing, a spokesman said. To find the full list of locations, go to www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/mcplant-locations.html.





Mat Smith/Engadget

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