McDonald's Refuses to Reveal Who's Making Their McPlant Burgers
McDonald's announced it's entering the plant-based burger wars—which may or may not be the new chicken sandwich wars—with its unique take on a meatless burger earlier this week. The McPlant is the fast-food chain's answer to Burger King's Impossible Whopper and Starbucks' Impossible Sausage Breakfast Sandwich. While this is exciting news, one important question remains unanswered by McDonald's: Who, exactly, is making the new plant-based McPlant patties?
A cloud of mystery surrounds the meatless burgers, but McDonald's briefly said in its announcement that McPlant was created "by McDonald's and for McDonald's." McDonald's developed a new plant-based meat entirely on its own? Not so fast. While the fast food giant may be keeping mum on the origin of its meat substitute, the major player in the plant-based arena who helped McDonald's with the process is seeking some recognition. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)
Soon after the McDonald's announcement, a representative for Beyond Meat confirmed to CNBC that it had co-created the McPlant patty. It remains unclear how much ownership Beyond Meat has in the product, and neither party has provided any additional information about how the McPlant burger differs from a normal Beyond Burger patty.
Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown didn't further clarify the confusion in a subsequent interview. "I believe our relationship with McDonald's is very strong," he told Mad Money's Jim Cramer. "We're involved with McDonald's on a number of different fronts. We're doing things now to prepare for things in the future that involve McDonald's."
The lack of transparency hurt the plant-based meat maker, whose stock initially plummeted after McDonald's didn't name it as a supplier for the meatless burgers. Things quickly recovered after Beyond Meat injected itself into the conversation.
And the plot thickens further. McDonald's statement said its upcoming McPlant line may add a chicken substitute in the future, something which Beyond Meat doesn't make just yet—not successfully, at least. For now, we'll have to wait to find out what exactly we're eating when we order a McPlant burger, which will be available at select locations starting next year.
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