BK, BigMacs, Ben & Jerry’s: Plant Based Diet More than a Fad

October 4, 2019

McDonald’s Press release:

CHICAGO – September 26, 2019 – McDonald’s will be conducting a 12-week test of a new plant-based burger called the P.L.T., which stands for Plant. Lettuce. Tomato. in 28 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario, starting September 30. The P.L.T. is made with a Beyond Meat® plant-based patty that has been crafted exclusively by McDonald’s, for McDonald’s, to deliver the iconic taste customers know and love.

“McDonald’s has a proud legacy of fun, delicious and craveable food—and now, we’re extending that to a test of a juicy, plant-based burger,” said Ann Wahlgren, McDonald’s VP of Global Menu Strategy. “We’ve been working on our recipe and now we’re ready to hear feedback from our customers.”

The McDonald’s P.L.T. is a delicious, juicy, perfectly dressed plant-based burger on a warm, soft, sesame seed bun with the iconic McDonald’s taste customers have come to love from McDonald’s. Featuring a plant-based patty with no artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives, it’s a great-tasting “open wide and sink your teeth into it” sandwich. The P.L.T. will be priced at $6.49 CAD plus tax.

Global tests like these offer innovation and variety to customers in a test market while McDonald’s stays laser-focused on running great restaurants around the world.

“During this test, we’re excited to hear what customers love about the P.L.T. to help our global markets better understand what’s best for their customers,” said Wahlgren. “This test allows us to learn more about real-world implications of serving the P.L.T., including customer demand and impact on restaurant operations.”


Plant-based foods have long played second fiddle to their carnivorous counterparts, but now, thanks to the ingenuity of chefs and brands like Ben & Jerry’s, these treats have become irresistible to even the staunchest meat eaters.

Deborah VanTrece is the executive chef and co-owner of Twisted Soul. When she got the call from Ben & Jerry’s asking if she would be interested in collaborating for the plant-based dessert tour, she was ecstatic. “It’s kind of one of those moments where you’re like, are you sure this is really Ben & Jerry’s? So we were pretty excited,” she laughed. Even though she isn’t strictly non-dairy, she loves Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy offerings. “I’m lactose intolerant, so it was just good to be able to sit and eat something with a very nice texture and very incredible flavor and not be sick afterwards and not have any negative results,” she says.

…..eating a largely plant-based diet will result in a decreased risk of diabetes and cancer and possibly aid in weight loss. But a more urgent reason more people are switching to flexitarian diets is concern for the environment, as meat and dairy products requires more energy, hence the larger carbon footprint. Recent Nielsen data shows that 62 percent of consumers are willing to reduce their meat consumption for environmental reasons.

Despite how trendy the plant-based diet may seem now, Albala thinks that plant-based treats are here to stay. “I don’t think they are a fad, only because there is a big enough market for it now,” he says.

The four-part series of plant-based meals gave diners in Atlanta a chance to try Ben & Jerry’s plant-based flavors, and it was a festive affair. The usually swanky space was converted into a Ben & Jerry’s wonderland with blue walls and puffy cloud accents, swinging benches atop faux grass, and a cart where attendees could sample scoops of the plant-based flavors to their hearts’ content (and sip on a killer moonshine cocktail, infused with the same cherries used in Cherry Garcia). VanTrece prepared snackable bites, like country fried tofu with mini collard green wraps and peach cobbler with Caramel Almond Brittle. When she first tried the Cinnamon Buns flavor, she was smitten. “It reminded me of home and warmth and sweet potato pie,” she explains. “Literally, at one point I thought I could just split a sweet potato and slather a scoop of this on my potato and it’d be good to go, but I thought okay, let me get a little bit more creative than that.” So instead she used Cinnamon Buns to make an ice cream sandwich with sweet potato cookies.

Still some learning curve ahead. See below.



According to Market Watch, shares in Beyond Meat have soared since McDonald’s announced it will trial the plant-based PLT burger in Canada. It also reveals that the PLT (plant, lettuce, tomato), which has been available in 28 Ontario locations from 30th September, will be cooked on the same grill as meat based products and eggs.

The trial will take place for a total of 12 weeks, after which it will be decided as to whether the “vegan” burger will be rolled out nationally or internationally.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said that consumers can customise the burger by requesting to hold the cheese and mayo. “[H]owever, the patty will be cooked on the same grill as other burgers, meat-based products and eggs.” A similar criticism was made of the Burger King Impossible Whopper, which is also at present cooked on the same grill as animal meats.

The PLT burger, created especially by Beyond Meat for McDonald’s, will cost $6.49 Canadian dollars before tax. Since the announcement, Beyond Meat’s stock increased 16% then closed by 11.6% at $154.34. Market Watch reports that trading rose to 8.1 million shares, compared with the average of 3.1 million shares.


10 Responses to “BK, BigMacs, Ben & Jerry’s: Plant Based Diet More than a Fad”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    “But a more urgent reason more people are switching to flexitarian diets is concern for the environment, as meat and dairy products requires more energy, hence the larger carbon footprint. “

    Not true, at least in much of the world:


    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I think one problem with the Ag chart is that it doesn’t count the GHG emissions from growing feed for the livestock under livestock.

      Beyond carbon footprints, between goofy water rights laws and other externalizations of capitalism, there are a lot of wasteful uses of water aggravating the inefficiencies of, well, all of the above.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        Actually, it does.

        And it is much less than you might think, because 90% of ag biomass is wastage – and that wastage is where a lot of livestock feed comes from.

        Globally, 86% of what a cow eats is unfit for human consumption, and the percentage for 1st world beef, and especially US beef is likely much higher, as US beef is way more efficient from a GHG emissions than the rest of the world.

        And the idea that livestock uses a whole lot of water is a perfect example of deception by statistic. For example, the rainfall on vast tracts of American grasslands is counted as “water use” against beef. (Same thing as “Land use” against beef)

        Here is some perspective on livestock water use:


        • Gingerbaker Says:

          Here is 2015 water use from USGS.gov

          • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

            My whine about water laws had to do with local management of local water supplies. In Robert Glennon’s Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters, he describes a situation where—not wanting to lose their district water quotas—some farmers in water-challenged districts were growing relatively water-intensive alfalfa and shipping it to China. That was the best use of their land from their perspective, even though it was a horrible waste of local water. (Something similar happens in one African nation which ships planeloads of fresh flowers to Europe.)

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          Well, those pie charts are about US sources, and the US has a lot of corn grown for cattle (and a large amount for ethanol*).

          From this 2013 article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/time-to-rethink-corn/

          Although U.S. corn is a highly productive crop, with typical yields between 140 and 160 bushels per acre, the resulting delivery of food by the corn system is far lower. Today’s corn crop is mainly used for biofuels (roughly 40 percent of U.S. corn is used for ethanol) and as animal feed (roughly 36 percent of U.S. corn, plus distillers grains left over from ethanol production, is fed to cattle, pigs and chickens). Much of the rest is exported. Only a tiny fraction of the national corn crop is directly used for food for Americans, much of that for high-fructose corn syrup.

          According to USDA 2018, US corn production is mostly “the main energy ingredient in livestock feed” with almost 40% going to fecking ethanol.


        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          Yaargh! I’m spoiled by Disqus allowing me to edit my comments.

  2. jimbills Says:

    Time will tell in this. I generally think vegetarian options are here to stay in the long term. As for plant-based ‘meat’, it largely depends on the cost. If real meat rises in cost, and faux meat lowers, then there will be a lot of people who start to switch to it. I’ve tried both the Impossible and Beyond Meat products – they are close enough to give the impression of meat eating without actually eating meat.

    For now, though, it does smack of a trend. Everyone is jumping on the wagon and I’m kind of waiting for the wagon wheels to collapse under the weight. People are interested in it because of the buzz, but once that goes away, what are the longer term prospects?

    My guess is a continuous presence but a minor market share – at least until the economics change.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I don’t like associating plant-based desserts (think fat, sugar, starch) or fast food (think french fries) with healthful eating, but I do appreciate that advances in food technology can make healthful foods tastier and more planet-friendly, by gaming our senses.

  3. grindupbaker Says:

    I’ve always requested the pizza slice for lunch with that healthy-looking green slime on top. My body is a temple.

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