McDonald’s Ireland ‘Delighted’ With McPlant Demand, So Why Are US Sales Dwindling?

The vegan McPlant has proved a popular addition to the menu in Ireland


2 Minutes Read

McDonald's McPlant burger and fries McDonald's launched the McPlant earlier this year in the UK and Ireland - Media Credit: Thomas Faull / Alamy Stock Photo

Following the launch of its first vegan burger, the McPlant, in Ireland at the start of the year, McDonald’s has revealed that demand for the menu item has been promising.

Gráinne Allen, director of food and innovation for Mcdonald’s UK and Ireland, told Farming Independent that the team is “delighted” at how well the Beyond Meat menu item has been received. 

“In January, we launched our McPlant across all our stores in Ireland,” she added. 

“We are delighted with how the burger has been received by non-meat eaters and meat eaters alike. McPlant sits alongside our iconic beef products which are supplied by thousands of Irish farmers.”

McDonald’s has stated that it’s making an effort to stay informed of consumer demand for plant-based foods. However, there are no current plans to extend the vegan menu range.

US consumer trials of McPlant prove disappointing

The news that Irish consumers are enjoying the McPlant comes as US consumer trials of the same menu item conclude. 

Offered in 600 of the 13,800 US restaurants in operation, the US McPlant has reportedly delivered lackluster results since analysis began in February this year. Following the trial’s ending, McDonald’s has not formalized any plans to continue selling its plant-based burger option in the US.

Unlike the UK version, the US McPlant was not suitable for vegans: it contained American dairy cheese and egg-based mayonnaise. 

McDonald’s stated that diners could request their burger without the mayo and cheese. Though the patties were still cooked on the same grill as regular beef patties. This drew criticism from consumers and may have prevented some vegan consumers from buying the menu item at all.

However, Restaurant Business Online has speculated about why the McPlant trial may not have been as successful in the US. It noted that a number of the trial locations were in smaller towns, and in these areas, plant-based products do not tend to be as popular.

The publication added that in more “urban markets,” more young people are interested in environmentally friendly, plant-based foods.

Hoping to mimic the McPlant’s UK and Ireland success, McDonald’s has also recently made the McPlant available in Australia. The burger will be made to the US recipe, with non-vegan mayonnaise and cheese. But there is scope for adaptations to be made following future consumer feedback.

How the competition is shaping up

Fellow fast food giant Burger King is pressing ahead with its vegan-friendly menu.

The chain, which aims to have a 50 percent plant-based menu by 2030, has been busy releasing meat-free items and opening fully vegan restaurants throughout 2022.

Other meat-free locations have been trialed in the UK, Spain, and Switzerland, with Burger King revealing that consumers have reacted positively to the all-vegan concepts.

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