Creating a vegan burger which replicates the distinctive taste of a McDonald’s burger is no mean feat- which is perhaps why it took three years. With all other major fast-food chains bringing out their own vegan alternatives, it was frustrating that McDonald’s took so long. Having grown bored of Veggie Dippers, it was with both excitement and apprehension that I tried the McPlant.
McDonald’s describe the McPlant as ‘a vegan burger made with a juicy plant-based patty co-developed with Beyond Meat® featuring vegan sandwich sauce, ketchup, mustard, onion, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and a vegan alternative to cheese in a sesame seed bun.’ The McPlant is probably most similar to a Quarter Pounder with cheese.
In typical student fashion, I first tasted the McPlant after a night-out visiting a friend in Leeds. Back in November 2021, it was still only available in 250 restaurants UK-wide, excluding Nottingham. I was so excited that I bought two burgers. It may have been partly alcohol-induced cravings, but the burger truly did taste incredible.
A thin burger patty is surprisingly difficult to find in the vegan market and the McPlant patty certainly wasn’t a let-down. I found this pea and rice protein patty to be juicy and flavoursome. The texture was also exactly as I remember meat, well McDonald’s ‘meat’, to be.
the slice of ‘cheese’ in the McPlant was quite tasty and very similar to McDonald’s original American-style plastic cheese
Navigating cheese has been one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced since converting to veganism. Often, I tend to avoid cheese alternatives. However, the slice of ‘cheese’ in the McPlant was quite tasty and very similar to McDonald’s original American-style plastic cheese. The only critique I have is that it could have been slightly more melted.
I enjoyed how all the other components came together to create the distinctly salty and moreish McDonald’s taste, particularly the vegan sandwich sauce.
Nonetheless, many of my meat-eating friends have been very complimentary of the McPlant.
Having been vegan for two years, I did wonder if I found the McPlant to be so realistic because I no longer really remembered what meat tasted like. Nonetheless, many of my meat-eating friends have been very complimentary of the McPlant. Although most would still choose the meat options, the McPlant has helped show that vegan food can taste good, and the option is always there…
The McPlant is retailed at £3.49 or £4.89 as part of a meal with chips and a drink- the same as a Big Mac. It is refreshing that McDonald’s have decided to sell their vegan alternative for a similar price to their other burgers. Veganism is often deemed inaccessible to those of lower incomes, as plant-based alternatives are usually more expensive.
Initially, the McPlant was trialled in just ten restaurants in Coventry in September 2021. McDonald’s then expanded it to 250 branches in October, then nationwide by January 2022. As well as in restaurants, the McPlant can be ordered through the McDonald’s app, Uber Eats and Just Eats.
Hopefully it won’t be too long until I can order vegan McNuggets and a chocolate milkshake
Having been such a successful first attempt at a vegan burger, it would be great to see McDonald’s expand their plant-based menu. Other fast-food chains, like Burger King and KFC, have already recognised the demand and stepped up to the plate. Hopefully it won’t be too long until I can order vegan McNuggets and a chocolate milkshake- or maybe we’ll have to wait another three years for that.
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