In a conference call today, McDonald’s announced its own plant-based burger, which has been dubbed the “McPlant.” The burger is created “by McDonald’s and for McDonald’s,” International President Ian Borden said. The McPlant will be added to menus in 2021. Let’s say the name again because it sounds like a joke: McPlant.
Over the past couple of years, basically every fast food chain has released a meatless burger. White Castle made a slider using Impossible Foods, Chipotle stuffs burritos with tofu-based Sofritas, and Burger King, Del Taco, KFC and Qdoba have all introduced plant-based meat. “In just one year, plant-based meat went from something very few Americans had heard of to something that 40 percent of us have tried,” wrote Kelsey Piper for Vox. Rather than the bean-laden veggie burgers of yore, these meat substitutes aim to recreate the texture and taste of meat. And while they can be eaten by vegetarians and omnivores alike, they are more likely to be marketed to those who do eat meat but are concerned about both health and environmental sustainability.
McDonald’s was the notable holdout when it came to “meatless meat,” and though it tested a “P.L.T.” burger using Beyond Meat in Canada last year, the announcement of McPlant implies that further deals with Beyond Meat won’t be happening. “In the future, McPlant could extend across a line of plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes and breakfast sandwiches,” said Borden.
The announcement of McPlant was paired with McDonalds’ announcement that it’d also be launching itself back into the Chicken Wars with a new crispy chicken sandwich in 2021. The chain has been down this road before (many times), and it has never worked, but between the McPlant and the chicken, it’s clear McDonald’s is committed to trend-chasing.
But let’s go back to the most intriguing element of the announcement — the name “McPlant.” Meatless meat product names have run the gamut from vaguely futuristic but unspecific (Beyond) to very bad puns (Incogmeato). But McPlant is goofily straightforward, like like the “Boaty McBoatface” of fake meat. It stretches what the “Mc” prefix can do to its outer limits. Do you eat plants? No, I eat McPlants. Like truly, you’re a multinational corporation, have some self respect!