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McDonald’s expands test of plant-based Beyond Meat burger

Two of Beyond Meat’s meatless Beyond Burger patties cook in a skillet.
Two of Beyond Meat’s meatless Beyond Burger patties cook in a skillet.
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

McDonald’s Corp. and Beyond Meat Inc. are expanding their partnership — a significant step forward for the fast-growing faux meat producer.

Fifty-two McDonald’s restaurants in southwestern Ontario, Canada, will now serve the “P.L.T.” sandwiches — plant, lettuce and tomato, featuring Beyond Meat’s pea-based patties — for 12 weeks, the fast-food titan announced Wednesday.

“As we expand the test, we’re continuing to listen to our guests across southwestern Ontario and assess the appetite for a plant-based alternative within the McDonald’s menu,” Michaela Charette, head of consumer insights at McDonald’s Canada, said in a statement.

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The test will include 27 new locations, and three restaurants in the original trial will remove the P.L.T. from their menus, McDonald’s said in an email.

Beyond shares jumped as much as 5.2% on Wednesday before reversing course; they ended down 2.9%. On Tuesday, they surged 12.5%, driven by optimism about the El Segundo company’s relationship with McDonald’s. The share price tripled last year.

Alexia Howard, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, cautioned against too much excitement. “The initial feedback has been largely positive, although it seems that the trial has not been a blowout success thus far that justifies an immediate nationwide rollout across both Canada and the U.S.”

The companies announced in September that the world’s largest restaurant chain would sell the sandwiches in 28 stores in Ontario in a test run.

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“We’re pleased that McDonald’s customers have shared they are enjoying the delicious, plant-based burger,“ a Beyond Meat spokesperson said.

McDonald’s also sells an imitation meat burger with a product from Nestle in Germany.

Beyond Meat has rapidly spread across the restaurant industry in recent years and now has products in more than 7,000 Dunkin’ stores nationwide, as well as at chains including Del Taco, Carl’s Jr. and Denny’s. McDonald’s scale — with roughly 14,000 locations in the United States alone — represents a unique challenge and opportunity for Beyond.

Competitor Impossible Foods Inc. has already rolled out a hamburger at U.S. Burger Kings, and this week it announced that an Impossible Croissan’wich, a sandwich with the new Impossible Sausage, would launch in five test markets at the end of the month.

Impossible Foods, which makes a soy-based patty, experienced shortages at times as it ramped up production to meet widespread demand. In July, it announced a deal with global food producer OSI Group to expand production.


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