Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have spearheaded a new kind of veggie burger that uses a range of plant-based ingredients and a secretive formulation process to achieve a similar texture to a burger that "bleeds".
"In the future, McPlant could extend across a line of plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes and breakfast sandwiches", Ian Borden, president of McDonald's worldwide, said in a statement, Yahoo!
At Burger King, the Impossible Whopper is made with a vegan patty, but comes with non-vegan mayonnaise (which can be held) and is prepared on grills where meat is cooked. "When customers are ready for it, we are ready for them", he said. Under the new strategy, dubbed "Accelerating the Arches", the company expects system-wide sales growth in the mid-single digits next year, compared to 2019 levels, with unit growth contributing another 1.5% to 2% in 2022. But 95% of U.S. McDonald's have drive-thru windows, which has allowed restaurants to continue to operate even though less than 20% have opened their dining rooms.
McDonald's has really been pushing to reach wider audiences this year.
"Plant-based products are an ongoing consumer trend".
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The move towards meat substitutes has been driven primarily by concerns over meat's effects on health, the environment and animal welfare. Burgers will get "a series of operational, process and formulation changes", the company said, including new toasted buns and an enhanced grilling method "to unlock more flavor".
In the months that followed, several restaurant chains released their own chicken sandwiches, including Wendy's, Church's Chicken and Whataburger.
Beyond Meat shares plunged on Wall Street on the announcement, down 25% at 22:40 GMT in electronic exchanges following the close of the New York Stock Exchange.
"Beyond Meat and McDonald's co-created the plant-based patty which will be available as part of their McPlant platform", a Beyond Meat spokesperson said in an email. Dinner was particularly strong, McDonald's said, but other times of day were elevated as well.