McDonald’s to test meat-free burger next year

McDonalds new P.L.T. plant based burger is photographed outside of one of the company’s test locations in London, Ontario on September 30, 2019.GEOFF ROBINS | AFP | Getty ImagesMcDonald’s will test a meat-free burger in several markets next year as it adds plant-based menu offerings, which it has coined “McPlant.”International President Ian Borden said that McPlant was created “by McDonald’s and for McDonald’s.” Borden said that the McPlant line could also include chicken substitutes.McDonald’s has not yet disclosed the supplier for the line. A company spokesperson declined to identify their supplier but said that McDonald’s will not be manufacturing the products.But a spokesperson for Beyond Meat said in a statement to CNBC that the company co-created the plant-based patty that will be available as part of the McPlant line. Shares of Beyond rose as much as 4% in afternoon trading after falling as much as 6% earlier on Monday. The stock, which was briefly halted for volatility in both morning and afternoon trading, is currently down less than 1%.McDonald’s began testing a meatless burger that used a Beyond meatless patty in several dozen Ontario restaurants in September last year. By April, the chain had ended the pilot and has since said that it has no plans to bring back its P.L.T. burger at this time.Former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, who was an early investor in Beyond, sits on the plant-based meat maker’s board. Investors have speculated that the connection between the two companies could mean a long-term partnership and make Beyond a supplier for the largest U.S. restaurant chain by sales.Other international McDonald’s markets have found more success with meatless burgers. Restaurants in Germany, for example, have added veggie burgers made by Nestle to their menus.McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski told investors that markets will choose if and when to add McPlant items to their particular country. He added that the exact pace will be dictated by consumer demand.Rival Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, released a plant-based Whopper in the U.S., with a patty made by privately held Impossible Foods last year.Shares of McDonald’s rose less than 1% in afternoon trading. Earlier, the company reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that topped analyst estimates. It also released an investor update, predicting systemwide sales growth in the mid-single digits in 2021 and 2022 and sharing more about its strategy for boosting sales.Beyond is expected to release its third-quarter results after the bell Monday.

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