McDonald’s joins vegan push with Beyond Meat ‘PLT’

A Beyond Burger, a vegan veggie burger, is seen at the Vedang fast food restaurant in the Mall of Berlin on May 18, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. With fast food chains such as Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts now offering ‘fake meat’ versions of their main meal options, the vegan burger industry is booming, as consumers look beyond real meat products out of health and environmental concerns.Adam Berry | Getty ImagesMcDonald’s on Thursday announced plans to test a plant-based burger using Beyond Meat patties in Canada.The 12-week test will start Sept. 30 at 28 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario.The item will appear on those menus as the P.L.T, which stands for plant, lettuce and tomato. The burger will sell for C$6.49, plus tax.”This test allows us to learn more about real-world implications of serving the P.L.T., including customer demand and impact on restaurant operations,” Ann Wahlgren, McDonald’s vice president of global menu strategy, said in a statement.Shares of Beyond Meat soared 13% in premarket trading, while McDonald’s shares inched up less than 1%.Meat substitutes from Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have soared in popularity this year, as more U.S. restaurant chains, like Dunkin’ and Red Robin, add them to their menus. Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, recently launched a version of its Whopper made with the Impossible burger nationwide.”Overall, we continue to believe the best way to play on the demand for plant-based foods is through Restaurant Brands, with its national launch of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King, which could add 400 [basis points] to Burger King’s U.S. comp,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Peter Sklar wrote in a note Wednesday.McDonald’s has largely stayed on the sidelines, citing a desire to better understand the trend before stepping in. It already sells plant-based burgers in Germany and Israel in partnership with Nestle, which started selling its Awesome Burger in U.S. retailers this week.Beyond Meat has expressed confidence in its ability to supply any restaurant chain. In June, CEO Ethan Brown told analysts that it could take on the largest fast-food chains, provided that it was done thoughtfully. McDonald’s, which is the largest restaurant company in the U.S. by sales, has roughly 14,000 locations in the U.S.

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