In early 2021, American plant-based meat company Beyond Meat® announced it would be McDonald’s preferred supplier for the patty in its McPlant™ burger, which would be tested across select locations in Sweden and Denmark. The patty was co-developed with Beyond Meat® and is exclusive to McDonald’s, made from plant-based ingredients like peas, rice and potatoes.
The relationship between the companies began in 2019 when they collaborated on the P.L.T. (plant, lettuce, and tomato) burger that was tested in over 50 restaurants in Ontario, Canada.
The McPlant™ was created to give customers more options. Beyond Meat® also revealed it would co-develop other plant-based menu items with McDonald’s as part of a three-year partnership.
In September, the McPlant™ launched in the UK, Ireland, Austria, and the Netherlands, and McDonald’s announced it would expand across the U.K. starting in 2022. While the versions offered in the Netherlands and Austria are not vegan, the UK and Ireland sandwich is made with a vegan sesame seed bun, vegan cheese made from pea protein, ketchup, mustard, a vegan sauce, freshly sliced onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. It won’t come in contact with non-vegan grills or utensils and has been certified as vegan by the Vegetarian Society UK.
It has already won Best Vegan Burger in the PETA Vegan Food Awards 2021.
McDonald’s USA announced it would test the McPlant™ for a limited time in eight select restaurants across the U.S. starting November 3rd, while supplies last. The restaurants are located in Irving and Carrollton, Texas, Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jennings and Lake Charles, Louisiana and El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, California.
In its news release, McDonald’s USA said that the test would help them understand how offering a burger with a plant-based patty impacts the kitchens in their restaurants. The McPlant™ in the US also isn’t fully vegan. It contains the same ingredients, but adds mayonnaise and a slice of American cheese, and does not contain an additional sauce. Customers can customize and request to hold the cheese and mayonnaise, or any other ingredients.
Here are some select reviews about the European versions of the McPlant™:
“It was worth it: the McPlant hits all the McDonald’s sweet spots—the ratio of bun to burger, the sweet tang of the ketchup and sauce, the shredded lettuce and little bits of onion, and those gherkin slices.”—Barney Calman, Daily Mail (UK)
“Bland…It doesn’t taste like beef. Gristly yet melty. The only thing that was really like the original is the sauce.”—Eve Simmons, Daily Mail (UK)
“The burger finely imitates the taste and texture of meat, with one person at the event joking that any dads skeptical of meat substitutes are unlikely to notice the difference from a standard burger.”—Rosaleen Fenton, The Mirror (UK)
“The vegan burger sauce and cheese make up for the fact that the patty itself is pretty thin, so you still get a nice tasty bite.”—Bethany Dawson, Business Insider India
“I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of the McPlant. The patty was delicious! A few other reviewers have said it tastes just like beef, but I would have to disagree. It was more of a falafel flavour (with the slightest hint of beef), although the patty was moister and softer than the Middle Eastern delicacy. The salad was fresh and juicy which is always a bonus, and the sandwich sauce was tasty, especially being complimented by the ketchup and mustard. Overall I’d recommend the McPlant, but the only issue is that it wasn’t too filling.”—Sam Hatherley, Southern Daily Echo (UK)
Tasters should also know that the McPlant™ in the USA is cooked on the same grill as meat-based products and eggs.
If you don’t yet have access to the McPlant™, you can purchase Beyond Meat® Beyond Burger at Vejii.