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McDonald’s, Beyond Meat collaborating for McPlant veggie burger

McDonald’s will be offering its new vegan burger developed with Beyond Meat at some 600 select restaurants in Texas and California. The fast food giant announced that the meatless McPlant burger and its plant-based patty will be available at participating locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and the San Francisco Bay Area beginning Feb. 14. Investors on Wall Street appear to favor the move. Shares of Beyond Meat surged by more than 5.5% in morning trading on Thursday. McDonald’s stock price ticked up by nearly 1% as of noon time on Thursday. In December, two Wall Street analysts forecast a major US expansion of the McPlant. One of those analysts, BTIG’s Peter Saleh, told Reuters on Thursday that the expanded test “moves the product one step closer to a national launch, which could be worth several hundred million dollars” to Beyond Meat. The Chicago-based Big Mac maker is expanding its pilot program which it rolled out in the fall. The initial small-scale test included just eight restaurants in Texas, California, and Louisiana. McDonald’s has already rolled out the McPlant in several European markets, including Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, and the United Kingdom. “We’re always testing new items and flavors, and this particular test will help us understand how offering a burger with a plant-based patty impacts the kitchens in our restaurants,” McDonald’s said. The meat-free patty is made from ingredients including peas, rice and potatoes, and it will be served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and American cheese, the company said. In the fall of 2020, shares of Beyond Meat fell dramatically after it announced that it was “co-creating” the McPlant with McDonald’s — even though the fast food chain stayed mum on the subject. The pandemic also hurt Beyond Meat’s bottom line as demand for the vegan-friendly foods waned and restaurants serving its meat substitutes were forced to close due to government-imposed lockdown measures. Beyond Meat, the Los Angeles-based maker of plant-based meat alternatives, continues to partner with legacy companies in the food and beverage space. Earlier this week, it announced a joint venture with PepsiCo to launch a plant-based jerky snack. The joint venture, which is called The PLANeT Partnership, will look to develop healthy, plant-based food and beverages. Beyond Meat also collaborated with Kentucky Fried Chicken to introduce Beyond Nuggets and more initiatives are anticipated with chains like Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Beyond Meat products are now available in fast food chains nationwide, including TGIFriday’s, Carl’s Jr., Gregorys Coffee, and Burgerfi. Veggie-friendly companies like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Oatly are looking to carve their niche in the competitive plant-based market. In 2020, the market was valued at around $29.4 billion, but a Bloomberg Intelligence report claims that the industry could be in store for explosive growth. Within the next decade, plant-based foods could account for more than $162 billion in sales, according to the report. US sales of frozen, plant-based chicken tenders and nuggets jumped 29 percent, to $112 million, in the 52 weeks ending Aug. 28, according to Nielsen IQ. Sales of conventional frozen tenders and nuggets rose 17% to $1.1 billion in the same period. McDonald’s has been slower to jump on the white-hot plant-based meat trend than its peers. Burger King introduced its meatless burger, the Impossible Whopper, in August 2019. Wendy’s and Taco Bell have also introduced meatless options on their menus.

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