McDonald’s Plans Its Own Faux Meat Line in Blow to Beyond

McDonald’s Corp. announced it will be introducing its own line of faux meat, starting with a substitute burger, dealing a blow toBeyond Meat Inc. andImpossible Foods Inc.

The world’s biggest restaurant company said its new McPlant line of products could eventually include plant-based chicken and meat for breakfast sandwiches. It will be “crafted exclusively for McDonald’s by McDonald’s,” International President Ian Borden said on a call Monday. Some markets will test the burger next year.

Beyond Meat’s shares plunged on the news, erasing gains and falling as much as 10% — the biggest intraday decline in four months. Trading in the stock was briefly paused due to volatility. The company is scheduled to release third-quarter earnings Monday after the close of U.S. trading.

The company has not yet announced who will be supplying it the burger, or whether it will be made using peas or soy or some other main ingredient.

“It’s made with a juicy, plant-based patty and served on a warm, sesame seed bun with all the classic toppings,” the companywrote on its website. A spokesman declined to comment further.

The announcement upends what had been an emerging duopoly in the faux-meat world, with Beyond Meat and closely held Impossible Foods competing as the two premier makers of plant-based burgers and sausages. As the companies have rolled out their products in major restaurant and grocery chains, McDonald’s, with its 39,000 locations worldwide, was long seen as a potential crown jewel for plant-based meat producers.

McDonald’s didn’t specify the markets where it plans to sell McPlant products. When asked about timing, Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski said on the call that “the exact pace of that is going to be dictated, as it always is, by the customer demand.”

McDonald’s had run a trial of a plant-based meat product supplied by Beyond Meat in parts of Canada for several months in late 2019 and early 2020. That “P.L.T.” sandwich — plant, lettuce and tomato — led some to wonder if Beyond Meat would be named the plant-based patty of choice for U.S. restaurants. However the test was not extended past the spring.

Impossible Foods supplies Burger King with the patties for its Impossible Whopper, and Starbucks Corp. has added a sandwich with the company’s plant-based meatin the U.S. Beyond Meat, meanwhile, has partnered with Starbucksin China andprovides breakfast meat for Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. Both companies have become prevalent across the industry in recent years.

Consumers are rapidly adopting plant-based meat substitutes that increasingly taste and feel like food made from beef and pork. This trend appears to have persisted amid the Covid-19 pandemic that has radically altered consumer landscape in a short period of time.

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