- McDonald’s have launched the McPlant burger, made from Beyond Beef with vegan cheese and sauce.
- Insider staff reviewed it, saying it’s good, meaty, but could do with being chunkier.
- The vegan option, as do many vegan options, pose as a much better choice for the environment.
Up until recently, vegan fast-food vegan offerings in the UK have been pretty slim.
However, a recent boom in demand for vegan options has meant that it’s pretty easy to be a vegan-on-the-go in the UK.
Late to the show, after rival fast-food chains – KFC and Burger King already have vegan options on their menu – McDonald’s has introduced the McPlant burger.
It was launched in 10 UK stores on September 29th before being expanded to more than 250 McDonald’s sites on October 13th.
The burger is more or less a vegan version of McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese, coming with one Beyond Meat patty, a cheese alternative, ketchup, mustard, onion, pickles, lettuce, and a slice of tomato.
The taste test
I’ll admit, I’m a pretty recent vegan, so I haven’t had the same struggle as more long-term devotees when it comes to the historical lack of options. Nevertheless, I was very excited to give the McPlant burger a try.
After a slight mishap with Uber Eats, the Mc Plants arrived at Insider’s UK office. Obviously, with a side of fries – vegan in the UK – to get the whole experience.
First things first, it looks and smells like any other McDonalds burger.
The first bite was great. The vegan burger sauce and cheese make up for the fact that the patty itself is pretty thin, so you still get a nice tasty bite.
All of the toppings made it a rather sloppy affair, so go cautiously.
I thought it was great if slightly smaller and less chunky than I was hoping for (clearly basing my thoughts on the pre-veggie days of eating Big Macs).
A meat-eating colleague joined for the fun and so that we could give a fully-fledged review. “Vegan likes vegan burger” isn’t a shocking take.
And they agreed that it tasted great! UK Strategy Fellow Sawdah Bhaimiya said that she wouldn’t notice it wasn’t meat if she wasn’t told it wasn’t beforehand.
We concurred that a slightly thicker, heartier version would be better.
If you’re reading this from the US, wishing you could have a try – you might be in luck. Insider’s Mary Meisenzahl has covered the eight locations across the country, which will see the arrival of the McPlant come November 2021.
What’s so special about the Beyond Burger?
The McPlant uses Beyond Meat, a vegan-friendly, beef-like patty made from pea protein designed to be the same as beef for taste and nutrition, with a sliver of the environmental impact.
Until now, all of McDonald’s vegan and vegetarian offerings (aside from fries) have been either cheese-based or mushed vegetable-based. They’re fine. Not great, at least in my opinion.
But that isn’t the only thing special about the new McPlant burger. According to a study by the University of Michigan, compared to a traditional beef burger, one Beyond Meat burger patty generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has 99% less impact on water scarcity, and 93% less impact on land use.
It’s really exciting when these products come out in a cheap, accessible format that makes veganism an option. For example, if every American replaced beef, chicken, and pork in their diet with a vegetarian option, that would save 280 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – or roughly Ohio’s total yearly emissions.
Not only that, but they’re better for you, too.
Sure, no one goes to McDonald’s in the hope of a wow-this-feels-great-for-my-body option, but it’s still worth noting that plant-based meats are healthier for you than traditional red meats, offering a lower total amount of saturated fats coupled with a higher amount of fiber.