After rumors swirled during 2020 about the fate of a collaboration between McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and plant-based meat substitute company Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND), the Golden Arches have apparently already begun offering a "McPlant burger" as a test in several European countries. Added to the menu without fanfare, the meat-free burger is available in Sweden and Denmark, Bloomberg reports.
The trial began on Jan. 19, and is scheduled to run through April 12 in Denmark, according to McDonald's Danish website, though the Swedish trial is nearly a month shorter, ending on March 15. The site's description notes the faux-meat formula contains rice and pea protein, and is served on a sesame seed bun with several toppings, including Cheddar cheese, onions, pickles, mustard, and mayonnaise. Clearly not a truly vegan item, the plant-based "steak is fried on the same grill as our beef steaks," according to the description.
McDonald's states the McPlant burger will be introduced in other markets as well in the near future, though it didn't specify which. The burger isn't the only new product the company is launching this year, with a new take on the chicken sandwich featuring three different versions slated to appear on Feb. 14.
The partnership with McDonald's, if successful, could also be an important growth driver for Beyond Meat. The faux-meat manufacturer is investing in a huge new headquarters to house a greatly expanded research and development staff, potentially enabling it to create such products as plant-based chicken. Other possibilities include the development of plant-based beverages and dairy products, raising the possibility of dairy-free McFlurries or shakes if McDonald's decides to expand its plant-based offerings.