McDonald’s New Vegan McPlant Burger Could Be a Game-Changer for the Planet

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"McDonald's vegan McPlant burger has arrived! Here's everything we know so far."

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 just launched its fully vegan McPlant burger. While it’s currently only available in the UK, 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.

Everything We Know About the McPlant Burger

mcdonald's mcplant burger
Photo: McDonald’s

McDonald’s McPlant burger will be trialed in 10 restaurants in the city of Coventry, England, later this month. Then in mid-October, 250 locations throughout England and Ireland will also get to experience the plant-based burger.

The McPlant patty was co-developed with Beyond Meat, and the burger also features vegan cheese made from pea protein and a vegan sesame bun. But that’s not all. You also get a delicious array of condiments and toppings, including onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, and even a vegan sauce. A combo that’s pretty much unheard of, as most plant-based burgers at fast-food chains are still topped with dairy-based cheese and sauces.

“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 this year, 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!

When Is the McPlant Coming to the United States?

mcdonald's mcplant
Photo: McDonald’s

While this is pretty exciting, the one question on our mind is: When can we expect the McPlant to make its debut in the United States? Unfortunately, the answer is unclear at the moment. But even though it isn’t available to the masses yet, it’s still a huge step in the right direction.

McDonald’s website claims markets will be able to adopt the McPlant when they’re ready. We can’t speak for the entire United States market, but if we have a say… we’re more than ready.

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McDonald's vegan McPlant burger has arrived! Here's everything we know so far.

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