McDonald’s launches its first plant-based burger joining increasing number of retailers

The McPlant burger will cost customers £3.49 and will be trialled in Coventry. Credit: PA

McDonald’s has become the latest food chain to branch into plant based offerings, as it launches its first vegan burger after years of research.

The non-meat alternative is the fast food giant's first offering of its find, and will be tried out in Coventry later this month before expanding elsewhere from October.

McDonald's hopes for a nationwide rollout of the McPlant burger from next year.

For £3.49 customers can enjoy plant-based patty in a vegan sesame bun, mustard, ketchup, vegan sauce, onion, pickles, lettuce, tomato and vegan cheese.

The patty will be cooked separately from other McDonald’s burgers and sandwiches using dedicated utensils and the McPlant is fully accredited as vegan by the Vegetarian Society, the fast food chain said.

A meat-filled non-vegan McDonald's burger. Credit: PA

It follows three years of research and development to bring a vegan alternative to British and Irish customers, with the patty co-developed with Beyond Meat and vegan cheese based on pea protein to match the taste of the chain’s regular cheese slices.

The McPlant burger follows the hit successes of vegan options at other outlets, as chains look to meet the demand for plant-based foods amid more varied diets, and environmental concerns.

The rise of the meat-free menu option:

Greggs - The vegan sausage roll and vegan steak bake

In January 2019, British bakery chain Greggs was the first major retailer to begin meat-free offerings when it launched the vegan sausage roll.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside described the bake as a "revelation" that helped the company step away from an old-fashioned image.

It helped profits too, with Greggs hailing the "enthusiastic reception" and "extraordinary" level of coverage for its vegan sausage roll, as sales grew 13.5% - up from 7.2% in 2018.

A year later, Greggs struck again with the vegan steak bake. Its late night launch, coinciding with Veganuary, saw 20 minute queues on January 1.

The publicity of the vegan sausage roll helped sales surge 9.6% in the seven weeks to 16 February. Credit: Greggs

Burger King - The Impossible Whopper

In April 2019, Burger King unveiled its first plant-based, meatless burger - the Impossible Whopper.

The meat-free alternative to the famed flame-grilled beef Whopper was trialled in the US to begin with before heading to the UK in January 2020 as the Rebel Whopper.

Subway - The vegan sub and salad

Around the same time Subway joined the hype, offering its first vegan options - a sub featuring a "patty, packed full of delicious sweet peppers, red onions, spinach, garlic and chilli".

The sandwich chain brought in a vegan garlic aioli to replace the old non-vegan garlic sauce, too.

KFC's plant-based nuggets and wings. Credit: Twitter/KFC


The summer of 2019 was a fruitful one for meat-free menu offerings, as KFC introduced it's vegan "chicken" burger (then-called the Imposter Burger) and began trials of plant-based nuggets and wings.

Just the vegan burger remains on their UK menu now.

The new venture came just as politicians began to question the use of the words "burger," "sausage" and "steak" to describe meat-free alternatives.

In the end a House of Lords Select Committee said an EU amendment to ban such terms would not be a good idea, finding the words didn't confuse consumers.