McDonald’s Phases Out McPlant Burger & Salads Amid Consumer Shifts

by Nick

McDonald’s has decided to discontinue its McPlant burger and salads in the United States due to changing customer preferences. This move comes as the fast-food giant aims to refocus its menu to better cater to cost-conscious consumers.

Joe Erlinger, President of McDonald’s USA, announced during the WSJ Global Food Forum that salads will no longer be offered due to low demand. Additionally, the McPlant burger, introduced in collaboration with Beyond Meat in 2021, will be phased out as it failed to attract enough customer interest.


Erlinger emphasized, “I don’t believe that US consumers are coming to McDonald’s specifically for the McPlant or other plant-based proteins.”


The decision reflects broader shifts in consumer behavior. Despite initial enthusiasm sparked by products like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, interest in plant-based meat has waned in recent years. In 2023, the US market for plant-based meat contracted by 3.6%, according to Mintel. Economic challenges have led consumers to favor more affordable food choices, avoiding unfamiliar or expensive products.


Concerns about the nutritional content of plant-based meats have also impacted consumer attitudes. Critics argue that these products, though rich in plant-based proteins, may lack essential nutrients found in natural meats, such as zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Health experts caution that some plant-based options may contain high levels of sodium or unhealthy fats, potentially compromising their health benefits compared to traditional meat.


Start-up companies in the plant-based meat sector are responding to declining sales by exploring new formulations, including incorporating animal fats to enhance flavor, a move that challenges the sector’s sustainability credentials.

McDonald’s decision underscores the challenges faced by companies in the evolving food industry, balancing consumer trends with nutritional expectations and economic realities.


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