If you’ve been staying up-to-date on planet-friendly food news, numerous fast-food chains have been making vegetarian and vegan options more widely available, from Taco Bell to Chipotle. But the latest chain to make a move into the plant-based place is a big one.
McDonald’s McPlant burger was initially trialed in 10 restaurants in the city of Coventry, England, in September 2021. Then in mid-October, 250 additional locations throughout England and Ireland got to experience the plant-based burger. After a small test in the United States, it’s expanding to 600 additional locations on February 14—more on that below.
It’s a huge deal for such a massive company to (finally) introduce a planet-friendly menu addition. Especially when it comes to the health of the planet. Here’s everything you need to know about the McPlant.
Everything We Know About the McPlant Burger
The McPlant patty was co-developed with Beyond Meat. The vegan patty is made with plant-based ingredients including peas, rice, and potatoes. It comes on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayo, ketchup, mustard, and dairy American cheese. To make it vegan, simply omit the mayo and cheese.
“We’re always looking for different ways to innovate and meet our customers’ needs, and with the McPlant, we have a delicious plant-based burger that will appeal to everyone,” says Michelle Graham-Clare, the chief marketing officer for McDonald’s UK and Ireland, in a press release. “Whether you’re vegan or just fancy a plant-based patty, we’re confident you will enjoy the McPlant.”
The three-year “global strategic agreement” between Beyond Meat and McDonald’s, which kicked off in February of 2021, doesn’t end with the McPlant. They will also be working on developing additional plant-based options, like meat-free chicken and pork products… and even a plant-based egg. Do we sense a plant-based McMuffin in the works? Fingers crossed!
Why the McPlant Burger Is a Game-Changer for the Planet
So, why is this such a big deal for the planet? Let’s break it down. McDonald’s sells roughly 50 million burgers a day. Yes, you read that correctly—every day. According to the EPA, the average beef burger requires 660 gallons of water to produce—the equivalent of two months’ worth of showers. In comparison, the water footprint of a Beyond Burger is just 1.13 gallons per burger.
A study by the Sierra Club determined that producing just one hamburger creates over three pounds of CO2 emissions—the same as driving five miles in a compact car. A peer-reviewed life cycle analysis also determined if we chose to consume one of these Beyond Meat burgers in the place of its beef counterpart—even just once a week—it would be the equivalent of taking 12 million cars off the road and would save enough energy to power 2.3 million homes. Talk about small changes making a big impact!
Where Is the McPlant Available in the United States?
While this is pretty exciting, the one question on our mind is: Where is the McPlant available in the U.S.? Well, good news: It’s getting easier to find!
The burger was added to menus in select U.S. locations on November 3, 2021, including in Irving and Carrollton, Texas; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Jennings and Lake Charles, Louisiana; and El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, California.
Because of the success of the trial, McDonald’s is expanding the McPlant to 600 additional locations. Right now, those locations are limited to the San Francisco Bay and Dallas-Fort Worth areas, but it’s likely that this is just the beginning of a nationwide expansion.
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