Story at a glance

  • Meat protein alternative company Beyond Meat signed new deals to develop a slew of new plant-based menu items.
  • Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming more popular in the U.S.

The popular plant-based meat alternative company Beyond Meat just inked fresh deals with some of the largest fast-food chains in the U.S., a pivotal step in the growing shift to vegetarian and vegan diets in the country.

Beyond Meat announced its new partnership Thursday with McDonalds, which will span its global franchises and offer a new plant-based burger dubbed the "McPlant."

“Our new McPlant platform is all about giving customers more choices when they visit McDonald’s,” said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer. “We’re excited to work with Beyond Meat to drive innovation in this space, and entering into this strategic agreement is an important step on our journey to bring delicious, high quality, plant-based menu items to our customers.”

Beyond Meat will also work on developing plant-based alternatives to other menu items, including chicken, egg and pork products. The deal is set to last for three years.

The company also signed a new contract with Yum Brands, the conglomerate that owns and operates brands like KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to supply new plant-based protein items as substitute options.

“Today’s announcement builds on our strong relationship with Beyond Meat and, given the consumer response during recent tests with Beyond Meat, we’re excited about the long-term potential plant-based protein menu items have to attract more customers to our brands, especially younger consumers,” said Chris Turner, the Yum! Brands’ Chief Financial Officer.

The new McPlant menu items at McDonald’s will debut in select locations, having first been offered in Canada in 2019.

Similarly, KFC launched its Beyond Fried Chicken at an Atlanta location in 2019, and Pizza Hut tested its new Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza and the Great Beyond Pizza nationwide, becoming the first national pizza chain to do so. 

More fast-food chains are quickly working on launching meatless menu options that cater to a growing vegan and vegetarian demographic. As of January 2020, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s and Carl’s Jr all began deploying new plant-based menu items. 

Denny’s and Qdoba also stepped into the game following a deal with Beyond Meat.

The other meat-alternative frontrunner, Impossible Foods, has cornered a portion of the fast food market as well, being the primary supplier of Burger King’s plant-based burger.

Published on Feb 26, 2021