Fast food giant McDonald's to launch vegan 'McPlant' burger in the US in 2021

McDonalds plant based burger
The fast-food giant trialled a 'PLT' burger in stores across Canada last year . Photo credit: Reuters.

Burger chain McDonald's says it'll debut its own plant-based meat alternative entitled the 'McPlant' in the US next year, ending speculation over who the world's biggest restaurant chain would partner with in a new frontier for the fast food industry.

The decision hit shares of plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat, which was seen as the frontrunner for a contract as it had conducted tests of a 'P.L.T.' burger at nearly 100 McDonald's locations in Canada earlier this year.

In a blog post published on Monday, McDonald's said: "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." 

"It's made with a juicy, plant-based patty and served on a warm, sesame seed bun with all the classic toppings."

According to Reuters, Beyond Meat's stock was down nearly 8 percent 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 CEO Chris Kempczinski told Reuters.

Analysts, rival fast food companies and plant-based protein producers have been closely watching McDonald's plans as it is one of the few US chains yet to sell plant-based meat burgers on a permanent basis.

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.

There's no indication yet that New Zealand will be one of those markets.