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McDonald's to launch vegan burger in US restaurants

By BELINDA ROBINSON in New York | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-11-01 07:52

The photo shows a vegan burger with avocado, soy cheese, fried onions, french fries and coconut and scotch cocktail. [Photo/IC] 

McDonald's will take on rival Burger King when it launches a plant-based burger called the "McPlant" in November in a bid to appeal to vegans and consumers who want more choice.

The McPlant will be on trial at eight restaurants in the United States — in Texas, Iowa, Louisiana and California — starting Wednesday until supplies last.

McDonald's said of the new product in a statement: "It has the iconic taste of a McDonald's burger, because it is one."

The largest burger chain in the US believes that a limited trial will help it decide if the McPlant could fit into the existing menu.

McDonald's said the McPlant will use a patty from plant-based food company Beyond Meat, made from ingredients like peas, rice and potatoes. The patty will be served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and a slice of American cheese. But it isn't entirely vegan due to the cheese and bun.

"Guests can customize and request to hold the cheese and mayonnaise, or any other ingredients," McDonald's said in a statement.

The burger chain also will carry out trials of the McPlant in other countries, including Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, the UK and Ireland. In the UK, the burger will be truly vegan as it will be made with vegan cheese on a vegan sesame seed bun.

One consumer in the UK under the handle SherpaVegan tweeted: "I know a lot of vegans wouldn't set foot in McDonald's. I genuinely agonized about going today. But we need big organizations to change and to drive change to bring an end to animal suffering. So, I took the step and had a McPlant. And I actually enjoyed it."

McDonald's said it spent three years testing the right combination before it released its McPlant to the public.

The company angered some vegans after it said the McPlant will be prepared on the same grill as meat-based products.

Burger King also came under fire when it said its plant-based Impossible Whopper would be prepared alongside meat products.

Burger King, the second-largest burger chain in the US, first tested its plant-based burger the "Impossible Whopper'' in August 2019. It also uses a patty from Beyond Meat. It has since become a staple on Burger King menus nationwide.

The fast-food chains are eager to take a bite out of the growing annual revenue generated from the plant-based food market.

In 2020, the retail market for plant-based foods was worth $7 billion in the US alone, up from $5.5 billion in 2019, according to the Good Food Institute, an international nonprofit that "reimagines meat production, with more than 100 team members across the US".

Freya Dinshah, president of the American Vegan Society, based in New Jersey believes that there are so many benefits associated with not eating meat that it makes sense for more fast-food companies to offer vegan options.

Dinshah told China Daily: "It is positive if people cut down on meat. It may even inspire them to do it not just one day a week, but two or three days a week. That can grow on them, and that would be good because it is a matter of urgency with the state of the environment being what it is. That's a way in which we can mostly quickly improve environmental conditions when people eat food from plants and not animals."

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