McDonald’s is looking to pull in the vegan crowd with a new burger made from soy patties. They’ll be testing out the new product in just one location in Finland, but if it flourishes, they will be extending availability in the future. Veganism is a growing trend that the fast food company hopes to capitalize on, and it could be a significant moment in the industry.
Predictably, the chain will be calling the new product the “McVegan.” The soy patty will be topped with a tomato slice, shredded lettuce, pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard. No cheese will be added to the burger, and it will be slapped together with their standard sesame-seed bun. The initial product will have a trial run in one location at Tampere, Finland, from October 4th through November 21st.
In a translated quote, Christoffer Ronnblad, who is McDonald’s marketing director in Finland, told local news reporters that the company will gauge public interest: "We are going to find out if it is in demand in Finland, [if it is] the kind of product that we would like to sell later on." They have already viewed public reaction on social media and found it mostly positive.
At the moment, McDonald’s tells the Huffington Post that there are no plans to sell the McVegan burger at other locations. However, it would be a surprise if praise and potential success of the new product would keep it limited to Finland. There are other countries that sell a form of vegetarian burger, but not the McVegan and some of those prior attempts have failed. The new product also looks like it could easily be mass-marketed for their other stores worldwide.
One of the issues McDonald’s will face is attracting vegans that will still avoid going in for the new burger, due to other problematic sustainability issues linked to the company including animal welfare and deforestation. For them, this one solution won’t be enough for the other products they sell. On the other hand, the fast food company adding a mainstream vegan option would be a significant advancement in both industries.
Awareness for vegan alternatives like soy burgers would increase, they would become available in more areas if mass produced, and that could roll over to other healthier options. It could also be a win for McDonald’s by attracting millennials in New York and California as healthier choices are starting to steal the show for grab-and-go food choices. For now, it will be a wait-and-see approach to the success of the new McVegan burger in Finland.