McDonalds Unveils McPlant Burger

Let's talk about a recent flop in the fast-food world that has got everyone buzzing. McDonald’s plant-based burger, known as the McPlant, didn't quite hit the mark in the U.S. as expected. This juicy tidbit came straight from McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger, who shared the details at the WSJ Global Food Forum.

Erlinger mentioned that the McPlant was tested in two very distinct American markets: San Francisco and Dallas. These cities were chosen to get a good sense of different consumer preferences. The testing kicked off in February 2022 and spanned about 600 restaurants in total.

But, as Erlinger put it, "It was not successful in either market." So, it seems like the U.S. consumer isn't quite ready for a McPlant or other plant-based proteins from McDonald's just yet.

Now, this doesn't mean McDonald's is completely giving up on plant-based options. The company is keeping an eye on the trend and has seen more success with the McPlant in various European countries, including the U.K. and the Netherlands, where the burger has even earned a permanent spot on the menu.

But let’s get to the meat of the matter – literally. According to Erlinger, the bigger trend in protein consumption is all about chicken. McDonald's is making significant investments to cater to this trend. Over the past few quarters, the company has been leaning heavily into its chicken offerings. They’re building on the success of beloved classics like McNuggets and McChicken and expanding newer favorites like the McCrispy and McSpicy.

In fact, McDonald's chicken category is doing so well that it generated $25 billion in annual systemwide sales, matching the sales from its beef business. CEO Chris Kempczinski highlighted that the company sees potential for even more growth in this area. They’re looking to expand the McCrispy platform into new products like wraps and tenders, aiming to add another point of chicken share by 2026.

And it’s not just chicken that’s getting a makeover. McDonald's has been rolling out its "Best Burger" initiative worldwide. This initiative includes various upgrades to make their burgers juicier and more flavorful. The goal is to have these improved burgers in nearly all markets by 2026, and as of the end of April, they had already hit 80%.

So, what does this mean for us? While the McPlant may not have taken off in the U.S., McDonald's is not sitting idle. They’re shifting focus to where the demand is – and right now, that’s chicken.

With innovations and expansions in their chicken menu and ongoing enhancements to their burgers, McDonald's is aiming to keep us coming back for more.

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