It's no secret that McDonald's has been playing around for some time with the idea of introducing a plant-based vegan burger in the United States. The fast-food giant has already been successfully selling vegan burgers in Europe since 2017, and the company recently announced it is testing a plant-based burger--the P.L.T., with a patty produced by Beyond Meat--in Canada.

Yesterday, however, Swiss food and drink manufacturer Nestlé announced that it has developed the world's first fully plant-based "triple play"--a bacon cheeseburger. As Nestlé already supplies its plant-based Incredible Burgers to 1,500 McDonald's restaurants in Germany--where they are sold as the Big Vegan TS--it is entirely possible that this collaboration may eventually make it to these shores. The Nestlé plant-based burger is sold under the Awesome Burger brand in the United States.

Says Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO:

More and more consumers are looking for delicious, nutritious, and sustainable plant-based options when they dine out. We have now raised the bar by developing a "PB triple play" of ingredients for an all-time classic: the bacon cheeseburger. We're continuing to make good on our promise to offer consumers food that is right for them and right for the planet.

After testing in Sweden during fall 2017, the McVegan burger--featuring a soy-based patty was created by McDonald's with Swedish vegan food company Anamma--the item was permanently added to the menu of McDonald's restaurants in Finland and Sweden in December 2017.

According to news reports, 150,000 of the vegan burgers were sold in just one month. And in January 2019, McDonald's introduced a vegan McFalafel in Sweden, meatless "chicken" nuggets in Norway, and a vegan Spicy Veggie Wrap in the UK.

Now, it appears that it won't be long before McDonald's starts testing its own meat-free burger in the United States. Referring to McDonald's, Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy said, "By early next year, you will likely see a plant-based burger test in the U.S."

There certainly seems to be plenty of demand in this country for a meatless McDonald's burger. According to healthy living advocate Kathy Freston, whose petition to McDonald's has more than 225,000 signatures,

In June, I personally delivered the signatures of over 200,000 customers who want a plant-based option on McDonald's U.S. menu. McDonald's has not responded, but their competitors are embracing the opportunity. Burger King's Impossible Whopper will be available nationwide on Thursday. Last week, Hardee's announced its upcoming plans to test a Beyond Thickburger. And just a few weeks ago, Dunkin' started selling a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich at 163 locations. McDonald's we're waiting for you to come on board!

With McDonald's slowly bringing its plant-based burger offerings closer to our shores, I suspect it won't be long before the company announces the introduction of its first U.S. non-meat burger. The company's competitors--including Burger King, Wendy's, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Whataburger, and others--are probably already getting pretty nervous at the prospect.