McDonald's and the 'Vegan' Burger
We've done a lot of 'picking' on McDonald's over the past couple years, but there's been a small sliver of hope recently that points to the company taking a hint from the general public when it comes to health trends. While it seems like an oxymoron, McDonald's in Finland announced that it is market-testing a new burger called the "McVegan."
It's a name that sounds wrong in so many ways, but the addition of a soy patty to its menu might just be what the company needs to do in order to gain ground with a broader market...or least create a semi-health option that spares the lives of a few hundred cows. The size of the McVegan has not reached par with say the Big Mac: it has a single soy patty with the same toppings that you'd find on a quarter pounder (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard...but NO cheese), but there's no reason why double-deckers couldn't be a thing of the future if sales are successful.
Aside from the burger itself, McDonald's reasoning for its development are increasingly clear. Vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise in the United States and the world at rates never seen before. In 2014, 1% of Americans claimed to be vegan, but in 2017 that number has risen to 6%. McDonald's is being proactive in this market trend, attempting to join the meatless burger frenzy. Many concept restaurants and food retailers, the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger have started to create "bleeding" meatless patties for a wider audience. In fact some consumers have a hard time differentiating between the vegan and meat burgers. However, when it comes to McDonald's flavor, it shouldn't be difficult to tell for the time being.
This trend is interesting though, particularly because this has less to do with the boom in committed vegans, but rather a shift in the eating habits of carnivores. In 2016, about 22% of Americans say they are now substituting non-meat proteins into meals at least once per week. There is no doubt that the world is becoming aware of the effects that long-term meat consumption has on one's health and the environment, and the fact that McDonald's can be a part of this meaningful change is also great. Chalk this up to a point for them in the "better-late-to-the-party-than-never" category!