Things are getting serious. Really, I never thought I would see the day that all of these meat-free, plant-based products would be sort of, well, mainstream. It's becoming more widespread now, and even people I know who eat meat sometimes try plant-based products just to cut back a little. Come 2019, and McDonald's is testing a Beyond Meat Burger in Canada. In my wildest dreams, I never would have guessed Mickey D's would be going this route. But I'm not mad about it.
The announcement came on Sept. 26 via an official McDonald's press release. The new product the chain is testing will be called the P.L.T. Obviously, its take on the BLT, as P.L.T. stands for Plant. Lettuce. Tomato, but don't be fooled because there is no bacon (or plant-based bacon) on this bite. Basically, it looks like a regular burger with cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, ketchup, and mustard. The difference here is that the juicy patty is made with Beyond Meat, a meat-free plant-based patty. Of course, the presence of cheese on the burger means it's not vegan-friendly, but you could possibly remove the cheese to modify it to be so.
The sandwich's test run starts Sept. 30, and will play out in 28 restaurants across Canada's Southwestern Ontario, lasting for 12 weeks, per the press release. The P.L.T. will cost $6.49 CAD plus tax during the test. I wish I could get a ticket to Ontario now, just to say I've tried it. But then again, I can't assume that the P.L.T. is going to become a permanent fixture of the McDonald's menu. This is a test, after all, and it's possible that the product may not take off. If it does succeed, though, I'll be trying one if McDonald's ever (hopefully!) releases it in the United States.
If you haven't heard of Beyond Meat yet, then think of it as a comparable product to the Impossible Burger, except the company is calling itself "the world's first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef without GMOs, soy, or gluten", according to the Beyond Meat official website. The Impossible Burger, on the other hand, incorporates a science-based approach, and does use soy and some genetic engineering. Business Insider did a full rundown of the Beyond Meat Burger's ingredients for those who are curious.
Now that the company has teamed up with McDonald's, instead of bypassing the famous fast-food chain when I'm starving — as the traditional McDonald's menu is sparse when it comes to veggie options — I'll have the ability to stop and grab something with actual protein instead of a side salad. This could seriously change the McDonald's game for a lot of people who don't eat meat. That was not a thing when I made the decision to slowly start going veg in 2010.
I ended up cutting out meat entirely, except for fish and seafood, back in January 2016. Even during that time, I didn't see a ton of options for plant-based products when I went out to eat or got fast food. I'm not sure how the vegetarians have been doing it at restaurants that are so, so far from being any kind of veggie-friendly. Things are changing, though! McDonald's is proudly giving Beyond Meat in Canada a try.
In a tweet from the McDonald's Canada account, the brand shared how the test will shape how or if the P.L.T. will possibly move forward, saying, "[W]e'll share our learnings from our test with the P.L.T. with McDonald’s around the globe."
Ann Wahlgren, McDonald's VP of Global Menu Strategy, is excited about the potential changes, too. In the press release, Wahlgren stated that “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. We’ve been working on our recipe and now we’re ready to hear feedback from our customers.”
If you are lucky enough to live in Ontario area of Canada, you should be marking your calendars to go out and try the P.L.T. from McDonald's made with Beyond Meat. I admit, I'm already sending a SOS text to my long-distance friend near Ontario, saying, "Please, try this for me and tell me what you think". Let's see if the P.L.T. makes it to America, folks.