CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Fast food chain McDonald’s said it would debut its own plant-based meat alternatives called “McPlant.”
Announced in a virtual meeting for investors following market-beating U.S. sales in the third quarter with new menu items and attention-grabbing celebrity collaborations, the company did not comment on why it did not continue with Beyond Meat’s offerings in the United States after testing the product in Canada.
“There are other plant-based burgers out there, but the McPlant delivers our iconic taste in a sink-your-teeth-in (and wipe-your-mouth) kind of sandwich,” McDonald’s said. “It’s made with a juicy, plant-based patty and served on a warm, sesame seed bun with all the classic toppings.”
Plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat was seen as the front runner for a contract as it had conducted tests of a so-called “P.L.T.” burger at nearly 100 McDonald’s locations in Ontario earlier this year.
Beyond Meat was not immediately available for comment. Its stock was down nearly 8% in morning trading, ahead of its quarterly results after market close.
“Plant-based products are an ongoing consumer trend. It’s not a matter of if McDonald’s will get into plant-based, it’s a matter of when,” McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski said on a call with analysts.
Analysts, rival fast food companies and plant-based protein producers have been closely watching McDonald’s plans as it is one of the few national chains yet to sell plant-based meat burgers on a permanent basis.
While other chains have started offering plant-based meat options, including Burger King, White Castle and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc, a McDonald’s contract could be the biggest and would put the plant-based meat movement front and center in mainstream America.
McDonald’s said under its McPlant line, it could offer products including burgers, chicken substitutes and breakfast sandwiches, which it expects to test in some markets in 2021.
Additionally, McDonald’s plans to debut a new chicken sandwich with pickles — an answer to competitors like Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A — that will go on sale in the U.S. early next year.
The “craveable” chicken sandwich will be “simple, but fantastic” according to the company’s media release. The crispy chicken fillet will be “topped with crinkle-cut pickles and butter, all served on a toasted potato roll.”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.