Apparently people are not lovin’ it.
Fast-food giant McDonald’s is pulling the McPlant burger off its menu after the plant-based product from manufacturer Beyond Meat left a bad taste in customers’ mouths, according to The Washington Times.
McDonald’s rolled out its take on a plant-based burger to 600 locations on a trial basis in February, following an eight-restaurant trial that began in November of 2021, according to CNBC.
The product is being broadly discontinued in the U.S., according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Ken Goldman, who spoke with employees at 25 McDonald’s locations, financial news site The Fly reported.
“Not surprisingly, the reason sometimes being cited is that the product did not sell well enough,” Goldman told investors in a research note titled “McPlant Seems McDone in the U.S. for Now.”
McDonald’s and Beyond Meat, a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009, announced a three-year partnership in early 2021.
“The McPlant includes a plant-based patty co-developed with Beyond Meat that’s exclusive to McDonald’s and made from plant-based ingredients like peas, rice and potatoes,” McDonald’s said in a press release at the time. “The patty is served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and a slice of American cheese. It has the iconic taste of a McDonald’s burger because it is one.”
The apparent failure of the McPlant to excite the tastebuds of American consumers seemingly confirms rumblings from earlier this year that the test run was not going well.
“Franchisee sentiment on the sales performance was underwhelming,” Peter Saleh, an analyst at financial services firm BTIG, told QSR Magazine in March. “Their assessment was that they don’t see enough evidence to support a national rollout in the near future.”
At the time, McDonald’s was only selling 20 McPlants per day, well short of the goal of selling 40 to 60 of the sandwiches.
In the aftermath of McDonald’s ending its testing of the McPlant, shares of Beyond Meat fell 6 percent, according to a CNBC report.
It’s but the latest morsel of bad news for the faux meat company.
“Beyond’s stock has fallen 53 percent this year, dragging its market value down to $2.06 billion,” the CNBC report noted. “Wall Street has become skeptical over the company’s long-term growth opportunities as grocery sales lag. Moreover, buzzy partnerships with restaurant giants like Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands and McDonald’s haven’t progressed to many permanent nationwide menu offerings yet.”
The future of the meat substitute industry as a whole remains to be determined.
A number of popular chains and fast-food restaurants have added vegan options to their menus over the last few years, with varying levels of success.
Burger King, for example, added the Impossible Whopper and Impossible Nuggets to its menu in 2019.
Founded in 2011, Impossible Foods is a Redwood City, California-based company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products.
Last week, Southern country-themed Cracker Barrel announced on social media it was bringing Impossible Sausage, which is made with soy protein, to its restaurants.
While some were excited by the news, others accused the chain of kowtowing to the woke crowd for providing a plant-based protein option to customers.
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