Why You Won't Find The McPlant At US McDonald's Locations Anymore

From a purely visual standpoint, there was very little other than the packaging that would set apart a McPlant from McDonald's classic hamburger. Made with Beyond meatless patties, the offer was supposed to be a godsend to vegetarians in search of a sandwich treat at the Golden Arches; the offer even attracted the support of PETA, the global nonprofit animal rights group, which resulted in an increase in McPlant sales.

There would have been great optimism when the McPlant was first rolled out back in November of 2020 when CNBC said the McPlant made its debut at eight restaurants in the United States. It was subsequently introduced at 600 restaurants located in Dallas Fort Worth and the Bay Area in mid-February, but as Restaurant Dive reports, it didn't take long before restaurant operators realized McDonald's only vegan offer wouldn't be as popular as the chain had hoped it would be, with sales either hitting the low-end of expectations or missing them altogether. 

McDonald's has stopped testing the McPlant

Restaurant Dive further quotes a study done by BTIG analyst Peter Saleh, who said that in the San Francisco area, McDonald's was barely moving 125 to 300 of the specialty sandwiches a week, while in the Dallas Fort Worth market, Saleh noted that the McPlant was moving at 30% below projections. As a result, Saleh wrote, "[McDonald's] assessment was that they don't see enough evidence to support a national rollout in the near future and that lower sales volumes were slowing down service times, as the product was being cooked to order," per MarketWatch.

Restaurant Dive says the testing period for the McPlant ended earlier this week, and while it still appears as an offer on the McDonald's website, various reports indicate that McPlant is no longer being served in the United States. In a report cited by MarketWatch, analysts for JP Morgan say they went around to 25 different restaurants at different locations and reported back with the news that the sandwich was nowhere to be found. They wrote, "We ... don't know for certain that McPlant is entirely discontinued — it may still be available in some locations. And it's possible, of course, that McDonald's is only temporarily taking it off U.S. menus. But clearly this news isn't good for the narrative."

The McPlant can still be found in some European markets

Will the McPlant disappear entirely? Possibly not, since it is still on the menu in Sweden, Denmark, Austria, and the Netherlands, per CNBC. Beyond Meat's CEO Ethan Brown has also said the McPlant is holding its own in the United Kingdom where it is still available, and MarketWatch says the sandwich can be found in Ireland.

But it is difficult to envision the McPlant making a comeback in the United States in particular, or in North America as a whole, without changes of any kind. CNBC says McDonald's has already tried to introduce a Beyond Meat plant-based burger to the Canadian market in 2019, but ended the pilot about half a year after the rollout and said it wouldn't bring the sandwich back. If any changes are to be made, MarketWatch suggests bringing prices down and adjusting the product so there is a better chance it will appeal to diners who are interested in plant-based options and are willing to pay for them.