McDonald's Exec Reveals Results of US Test on Plant-Based Meats

A top McDonald’s Corp. executive confirmed the company's US test of plant-based meat flopped. He also mentioned diners don’t visit for salads.

The McPlant burger test in San Francisco and Dallas “was not successful in either market,” Joe Erlinger, McDonald's US chief, said at the Wall Street Journal’s Global Food Forum in Chicago. The test wrapped up in 2022, he noted.

US consumers aren’t interested in “McPlant or other plant-based proteins from McDonald’s,” he added. Plant-based food has done better in European markets.

“If people really want salads from McDonald’s, we will gladly relaunch salads,” Erlinger said. “But our experience shows that’s not what consumers are looking for.”

Shares of Beyond Meat Inc., McDonald’s partner for the McPlant burger, recovered from an earlier decline by 1:38 p.m. in New York trading Wednesday. McDonald’s shares remained steady.

Instead of plant-based options, McDonald’s is focusing on chicken as consumers prefer it. McDonald’s now sells more chicken than beef, he mentioned.

“Affordability drives some of it,” he said. “Chicken is cheaper to produce, making it a great option for budget-conscious consumers.”

Chicken is seen as a more economical choice, he emphasized.

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