A year late, but worth the wait…? Residents of Coventry will be able to tell us soon, as McDonald’s is set to start trialling its first plant-based burger in the West Midlands city today.
An unwillingness to settle for substandard cheese was apparently the reason for the delay in delivering the burger – a Beyond Meat pea protein patty, with lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles – before the versatile pea was wrestled and beaten into cheesy submission by Kerry Foods, McDonald’s dairy supplier in Ireland. The company says each slice of “innovative vegan cheese [now] tastes just like McDonald’s iconic cheese slices”.
After its trial run starting today, when consumers in 10 restaurants in Coventry will have their say, the McPlant will be rolled out to 250 eateries in October, and will be on the menu nationwide in the new year. Modelled on the Quarter Pounder Deluxe, it will cost £3.49.
“The cheese was the most complex and challenging element,” said McDonald’s food and innovation director Grainne Allen. “It took us months. It became the real focus. We tried hundreds of different options but none worked. In the end we worked with Kerry Foods to create our own.”
The McPlant has taken its sweet time getting to these shores. McDonald’s announced in late 2020 that the eagerly anticipated burger would arrive at the start of 2021, before the pandemic intervened. However, the company’s first test run of a meat-alternative burger, then named the McVegan, was in 2017, when it was trialled in Finland. So much for fast food.
Plant-based eaters can be reassured that the McPlant is fully accredited as vegan by the Vegetarian Society and will be cooked in the oven rather than on the grill – Burger King fell foul of advertising rules last year when it was discovered its “vegan” Rebel Whopper patty was cooked alongside meat.