UPDATE: McDonald’s goes vegan for Beyond Meat in Canada

September 27, 2019

Updated: September 29 with comments from The Good Food Institute

McDonald’s will begin serving up a Beyond Meat burger next Monday, September 30. The P.L.T. (plant, lettuce, tomato) burger goes on sale in 28 Micky-Ds in Southwestern Ontario, including Canada’s largest city, Toronto, for 12 weeks. The sandwich costs C$6.49 Canadian ($5 US). It’s also a sign of the restaurant pushing into vegan options, as it could be made vegan too – cheese is optional.

“Offering the new P.L.T. in will give McDonald’s an opportunity to hear feedback from customers, as well as from crew and franchisees,” said Ann Wahlgren, VP of Global Menu Strategy at McDonald’s, in the official release. “It’s a chance to test new products in a handful of restaurants, and will inform our future plans for introducing plant-based options around the world.”

The Good Food Institute, a U.S.-based nonprofit that promotes plant-based meat, among other ‘clean ‘ meat, tells AFN that the test is the first step in plant-based global domination.

“It’s a massive milestone for McDonald’s to introduce plant-based meat on its menus in Canada. It’s a clear sign that meat made from plants is now mainstream. Our hope is that the Canadian plant-based meat test will soon lead to a launch of the Beyond Burger at McDonald’s in the U.S.,” said executive director Bruce Friedrich.

AFN has reached out to Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and McDonald’s for comment. Stay tuned for updates.


Snapshot: About McDonald’s test of Beyond Meat

  • McDonald’s will begin serving up a Beyond Meat burger on Sep 30
  • Available in 28 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario, including Canada’s largest city, Toronto, for 12 weeks
  • BYND shares rose 11% in trade on Thursday, Sep 26, to about six times the initial $25 IPO price
  • The P.L.T. will cost C$6.49 Canadian ($5 US)

Coming off the news, shares of Nasdaq-listed Beyond Meat (BYND) skyrocketed over 11% on Thursday, dealing alt-meat stock naysayers a body blow. Now hovering around $150, the stock is up six-fold from its IPO price of $25. The company went public on May 2, 2019 and has been one of the year’s most discussed debuts.

Check out my fellow reporter Lauren Manning’s coverage of BYND’s day 1, here.

This puts previous rumors from food industry insiders that McDonald’s could partner with Nestle to bring a vegan burger to market in North America, to rest. Nestle made McDonald’s vegan burger, the Big Vegan TS, in Germany – one of its top five international markets. Aside from McD’s, Dunkin’ started offering Beyond’s plant-based sausage in New York City in July.  The fast-food giant also plans to release it to the rest of the 49 states in the near future.

This is… not a test?

Snapshot: Fast food’s foray into alt-proteins

  • Tim Hortons pulled Beyond’s sausages and burgers from locations in all provinces except British Columbia and Ontario after a limited-time offer expired
  • Dunkin Donuts’ started offering Beyond’s plant-based sausage in New York City in July 
  • Nestle made McDonald’s vegan burger, the Big Vegan TS, for sale in Germany
  • Burger King sells Impossible Whoppers at all of its US locations

A test has two outcomes – a pass or a fail. After all, Beyond could fail to impress the American fast-food company, much like it did Tim Hortons in Canada. The coffee franchise, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, pulled Beyond’s sausages and burgers from locations in all provinces except British Columbia and Ontario, after a limited-time offer expired.

McDonald’s has been slower than its competitors in embracing the meatless trend. Burger King sells Impossible Whoppers all over the US. White Castle, Qdoba, Bareburger and more have hopped on the plant-based menu bandwagon too.

“The Impossible Whopper has proved that plant-based meat is here to stay and is poised for explosive growth. If McDonald’s Beyond Meat test in Canada is successful and the plant-based burger is rolled out across its North American restaurants, that will be the final sign that plant-based meat is poised for global domination,” added Friedrich.

Beyond Meat has expressed confidence in its ability to supply any restaurant chain. In an interview with CNBC in June, its CEO Ethan Brown said that his company could take on the world’s largest fast-food chains, especially if it was done with prudence. McDonald’s has some 14,000 locations across the US, making it the country’s largest restaurant chain.

Have something to say about the alt-protein hitting the mainstream? Drop me a note at joe@agfunder.com.

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