McDonald’s Meatless McPlant Burger Is Here … Sort of

Today, McDonald’s announced the anticipated launch of its first meatless offering under its new McPlant platform. The McPlant burger is now available at test locations in Sweden (Linköping and Helsingborg) until March 15 and in select Denmark locations until April 12, with the aim of rolling out the meatless burger to McDonald’s locations in other markets. The McPlant burger is made with a plant-based patty developed exclusively for McDonald’s from pea and rice protein, Bloomberg reports. The McPlant comes topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, ketchup, egg-based mayonnaise, and dairy-based cheese. McDonald’s also notes that the patty is prepared on the same surface as meat. 

“This is an exciting test of a really good burger, and we [will] follow the test launch of McPlant closely and are very curious about the guests’ reactions to the burger,” McDonald’s Sweden CEO Joachim Knudsen said. “By being the market where McPlant is tested, we are given the opportunity to show that a plant-based burger has great potential on McDonald’s menu, as a complement to our other offerings.”

Feeding flexitarians
The test launch in Sweden follows a survey conducted by market research firm Kantar-Sifo at the end of 2020 which found that more than one third of Swedes identify as “flexitarian,” which McDonald’s defines as a consumer who eats a mostly vegetarian diet. “McPlant offers a completely new taste experience, but still with the same iconic McDonald’s taste,” Staffan Ekstam, McDonald’s Marketing Manager in Sweden, said. “Our [plant-based] burger is for all our guests—both those who are eager to try something new, and as an additional alternative for all the guests who today eat flexitarian.”

McPlant for all
In November, McDonald’s International President Ian Borden announced the development of its McPlant platform during an investor meeting. While Sweden and Denmark are the first countries to trial the McPlant burger, Borden said the company will use the platform to develop products that meet demands in specific markets. “In the future, McPlant could extend across a line of plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes, and breakfast sandwiches,” Borden said. 

In 2019, Beyond Meat partnered with McDonald’s to launch its P.L.T. (Plant, Lettuce, and Tomato) burger at test locations in Ontario, Canada. McDonald’s did not reveal the supplier of its new McPlant burger patty—only that it was “crafted exclusively for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s.” However, a Beyond Meat spokesperson confirmed that the brand was indeed involved, stating, “Beyond Meat and McDonald’s co-created the plant-based patty which will be available as part of their McPlant platform.”