McDonald's Adds Meat-Free Burger to More Menus

Fast-food fans looking for a more vegetarian-friendly ordering option are in luck, because McDonald's is set to expand its test of the plant-based McPlant burger in 2022. Following an initial test in eight select restaurants last year, the fast-food chain is set to bring the meat-free burger to 600 locations in the San Francisco Bay and Dallas-Fort Worth areas beginning Monday, Feb. 14, the company announced Thursday.

Created as part of its partnership with Beyond Meat, the plant-based McPlant burger features a patty, which was co-developed with Beyond Meat and is exclusive to McDonald's, made from plant-based ingredients like peas, rice and potatoes. The patty is served on a vegan sesame bun with a vegan sauce, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. The McPlant burger also features a pea protein-based vegan cheese that "tastes just like McDonald's iconic cheese slices." Business Insider previously reported that in an effort to ensure the burger is completely vegan, McDonald's confirmed the McPlant is cooked on a separate grill with dedicated utensils used to cook it. 

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(Photo: McDonald's)

McDonald's began testing the McPlant burger in its U.S. market in November 2021. At that time, the McPlant landed on eight U.S. menus in California, Iowa, Louisiana and Texas. Prior to that, however, the McPlant had been tested overseas in Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the U.K. Michelle Graham-Clare, chief marketing officer at McDonald's UK and Ireland, said ahead of the burger's release in the UK market, "We are always looking for different ways to innovate and meet our customers' needs, and with McPlant, we have a delicious plant-based burger that will appeal to everyone. Whether you're vegan or just fancy a plant-based patty, we're confident you will enjoy the McPlant."

The McPlant is not the first plant-based burger for the Golden Arches. The fast-food chain previously tried out a meatless burger dubbed the P.L.T. (plant, lettuce, tomato) at several restaurants in Ontario, Canada in 2019. However, by the following April, McDonald's ended the test.

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The expansion of the McPlant Burger test comes as more and more fast-food chains expand their menus to include vegetarian and vegan-friendly ordering options. In 2021, Taco Bell announced a new initiative to bring vegan-friendly items to the menu that began with the re-introduction of potatoes. More recently, KFC in January launched its Beyond Meat's plant-based chicken to menus around the country.