McDonald’s McPlant blooming in more test markets [Updated]

The up-and-coming McPlant burger may be testing at a location near you.

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Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group (Getty Images)

Updated post, Friday 21, 2022: The momentum behind the McPlant continues to grow. CNBC reports that starting February 14 (yes, Valentine’s Day), 600 more McDonald’s locations will be added to the roster of test markets of the McPlant, McDonald’s vegan burger offering. The restaurants participating will be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, along with some San Francisco Bay locations.

600 new locations is a lot for testing, but considering McDonald’s has 14,000 U.S. locations, it’s just another drop in the bucket for the fast food giant. Considering that McDonald’s has been cautious about jumping into the market right away, we’ll see how long it takes for the vegan patty to make it to a drive-thru near you.

Updated post, December 15, 2021: Vegan news outlet VegNews reports that the McPlant test has been going pretty well. So well, in fact, that some business analysts think that a larger rollout may happen sooner rather than later.

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The test is showing that the target goal of selling 70 McPlant burgers per day is being met at the eight locations we mentioned below. One analyst, Michael Lavery from investment banking company Piper Sandler, thinks that there’s a possibility for the national rollout of the McPlant to be executed as early as first quarter in 2022.

But not everyone’s so convinced. Peter Saleh, analyst at global finance group BTIG, thinks we still have a while to go, with a more conservative speculation that the test run will simply expand to 700 more locations in early 2022 before going national in 2023. That’s still no small potatoes. Considering McDonald’s has been pretty quiet about the vegan meat substitute, I think the a cautious approach is likely. We’ll keep an ear out for you.

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Original post, October 15, 2021: The world (well, us) has been wondering where McDonald’s plant-based burger has been. We finally found out that the creatively named McPlant will be tested next month in eight U.S. McDonald’s locations. Rather than diving in headfirst, like Burger King did with the Impossible Whopper, McDonald’s has taken more of a reserved approach, and CNBC reports that it’s because the fast food chain wants to see if there will be demand for the product in the long term.

McDonald’s is going to be on team Beyond Meat rather than Impossible, opting for the pea, potato, and rice-based patties over the soy protein-based version that Impossible offers. If you’re in the following cities, you’ll have access to the testing versions:

  • Carrollton, Texas
  • Irving, Texas
  • Jennings, Louisiana
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Manhattan Beach, California
  • El Segundo, California

CNBC says that the McPlant won’t be entirely vegan, since it’ll be topped with American cheese and mayo, and will also be cooked on the same grill that the beef is cooked on. I guess it’s more for the people who are curious, or like to replace the beef in their diets on occasion.

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This won’t be the McPlant’s global debut, however. Overseas markets like the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark, Austria, and Sweden already have the plant-based burger. And in September 2019 a trial run of a similar Beyond Beef version in Canada didn’t seem to go so well, as that iteration (called the P.L.T.) was discontinued after its trial run.

If the burger goes national, I’m sure I’ll give one a chance. My problem with Beyond Burgers is the smell; when they cook, the patties give off a scent reminiscent of wet cat food. They taste fine, however. Impossible’s version also definitely doesn’t smell like beef either, but the aroma is more tolerable while cooking. Will you be trying the McPlant if it comes out nationally? How do you think it’ll fare?