Reading Time: 2 minutes McDonald's is 'keeping an eye' on plant-based protein (Photo: McDonald's)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fast food giants must add vegan options to their menus – or face the consequences, according to a report by Business Insider.

The article, titled Evidence is mounting that fast-food chains from Chick-fil-A to McDonald’s will be forced to add vegan menu items — or face the consequences, looks at the rising popularity of animal-free options.

It cites Burger King, Del Taco, and Red Robin as examples of chains who have expanded their menus with plant-based dishes – and who have reaped the rewards of doing so.

Vegan and plant-based options

“Chains including TGI Fridays, Carl’s Jr., and Red Robin serve either the Impossible Burger or the Beyond Burger,” said Business Insider.

“Del Taco announced that its vegan Beyond Taco is on track to be one of the chain’s best-ever new product launches. And, Burger King announced that it has partnered with Impossible Foods to roll out the Impossible Whopper nationally by the end of 2019.”

It adds that McDonald’s is under pressure to follow their lead, after a petition titled McDonald’s Big Mistake launched in April garnered in excess of 200,000 signatures. What was the chain’s mistake according to the document? Not adding a vegan sandwich to its US menu.

Vegan McDonald’s

While the chain offers various animal-free dishes in European outlets – including the Spicy Veggie Wrap* in the UK, and the McVegan in Sweden and Finland – it hasn’t yet extended these offerings to the States.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook recently revealed that he is ‘paying close attention to, and internally discussing, vegan and plant-based menu items’ during a call with the company’s investors. He said there ‘may be more to come’ but that ‘at the moment’ there isn’t anything to say on the subject.

While Easterbrook remains tight-lipped on the subject, pundits think the fast food giant will launch a vegan option in the US in the future, with Mark Kalinowski, President and CEO at Kalinowski Equity Research, telling Business Insider: “I think it’s just a matter of time before McDonald’s has something in the US. Now I don’t know if that means 10 weeks from now or two decades from now. But McDonald’s isn’t dumb, and they have a lot of resources.”

*While all the ingredients in the wraps are suitable for vegans, McDonald’s has marked the items as vegetarian because the tortillas pass through the same toaster as the buns that contain milk – and therefore there’s a minor risk of cross-contamination. The items are both certified by The Vegetarian Society.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.