McDonald’s recently announced it will begin selling a vegan burger in the United Kingdom and Ireland according to the Associated Press. The “McPlant” will comprise of a plant-based patty made with pea protein on a vegan sesame bun topped with vegan cheese and vegan sauce. The patty was developed with Beyond Meat. McPlant’s rollout will begin later this year. McDonald’s has not said if the McPlant will go on sale in the U.S.
McDonald’s announcement comes at the same time as increasingly tighter supplies of pea protein, a primary ingredient in many plant-based alternative meat products. According to the website food ingredients first, drought, tight supplies, and growing demand for meat alternatives has led to higher pea prices and potential shortages of pea ingredients. Pea production this year in Canada dropped 45 percent and pea prices have increased 120 percent compared to last year. Market observers say the increases in pea ingredient prices will lead to higher input costs for alternative meat producers and will inevitably be passed on to consumers of vegan products like the McPlant. Given these market realities, McDonald’s decision on where to price its new sandwich realative to its mainstay, the Big Mac, should be interesting.