Why McDonald's Just Saw An Increase In McPlant Sales

The demand for plant-based meat alternatives has grown exponentially in the last two years. According to Food Dive, 2020 saw a 27% increase in plant-based food sales, and "the plant-based segment grew at a faster clip than traditional products as a whole." There are a host of benefits to choosing a flexitarian diet, but many people reaching for plant-based items will likely mention their concern for animal and environmental welfare. The Guardian's Jess Fanzo and Mario Herrero write that mass livestock farming alone comprises 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which facilitate events like deforestation, species extinction, and the decline of necessary groundwater areas (or "water tables").

As more and more people begin to understand the tolls of unsustainable and inhumane food production, several fast food franchises are making unprecedented moves toward the growing plant-based market. Burger King was one of the first chains to sling a meat-free burger, the Impossible Whopper, which now shares the stage with Carl's Jr.'s lineup of Beyond Burgers, Burger Fi's Beyond Burger, and more. McDonald's entered the ring in February with its McPlant burger, reports CNBC, and the Impossible Foods item just got a big thumbs up — and a big sales increase — from one of the chain's most influential adversaries. 

The McPlant is PETA-approved

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a nonprofit that holds court as the largest animal rights organization in the world, has targeted McDonald's for its treatment of animals since the late 1990s, per its website. But as of late March, the rivalry between the opposing entities may be coming to an end. Bloomberg reports that PETA teamed up with the chain in Texas and California to buy a bulk supply of the meat-free McPlant burgers ("sans cheese and mayo," to make them vegan) for an ongoing giveaway. PETA is also currently petitioning for the McPlant to be offered beyond its current 600 American market-testing locations. 

Despite being a little pricier than other McDonald's burgers, the $5.39 McPlant has seen a jump in sales since partnering with PETA, McDonald's franchisee Joey Blanton tells Bloomberg. Marley Delago, the PETA coordinator at the helm of the McPlant campaign, says McDonald's plant-based menu item "will save millions of animals' lives." While the McPlant wasn't doing so hot until recently, this boost from an unlikely ally may help.