(Reuters) – Burger chain McDonald’s Corp MCD.N said it would debut its own plant-based meat alternatives called “McPlant” in 2021, ending speculations 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 BYND.O, which was seen as the front runner for a contract as it had conducted tests of a so-called “P.L.T.” burger at nearly 100 McDonald’s locations in Ontario, Canada, earlier this year.
Beyond Meat was not immediately available for comment. Its stock was down nearly 8% in morning trading, ahead of its quarterly results after market close.
McDonald’s, which reported market-beating profit and revenue estimates for the third quarter on Monday, did not comment on why it did not continue with Beyond Meat’s offerings in the United States.
“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 Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski said on a call with analysts.
Analysts, rival fast food companies and plant-based protein producers have been closely watching McDonald’s plans as it is one of the few national chains yet to sell plant-based meat burgers on a permanent basis.
While other chains have started offering plant-based meat options, including Restaurant Brands International Inc’s QSR.TO Burger King, White Castle and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc DNKN.O, a McDonald’s contract could be the biggest and would put the plant-based meat movement front and center in mainstream America.
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.
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