I'm not sure why fast-food giant McDonald's is introducing its interesting new vegan food options only to Europe and not the United States, but it sure seems to be the case. However, with the recent introduction of vegan chicken nuggets to McDonald's restaurants in Norway, there's hope that this new product will make it to our shores in the not-too-distant future.

And for good reason. According to a report on food trends published by research firm Global Data, "Rising veganism and awareness of the impact of meat consumption are driving demand for meat-free substitutes."

Previous vegan product introductions by McDonald's have gone well. After testing in Sweden during fall 2017, the McVegan burger 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 and a vegan Spicy Veggie Wrap in the UK.

But, why not in the United States?

The new vegan chicken nuggets contain (no surprise) exactly zero chicken. However, they do contain a combination of potatoes, chickpeas, onion, carrots, and corn inside a fried, breaded coating.

More companies are jumping on board the vegan bandwagon. Ben & Jerry's created an entire line of non-dairy, vegan "ice cream" (including such classic flavors as Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia), Domino's Australia launched vegan pizza in its 600 Australian restaurants last year to "overwhelming demand," and startup vegan-centric fast-food restaurants such as Plant Power, Amy's Drive-Thru, Freshii, and others are popping up across the country.

Clearly, as demonstrated by its surprising announcement that, by 2025, 100 percent of the company's guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled, or certified sources, McDonald's is trying to have a positive impact on the world, while keeping up with the fast-changing buying preferences of its customers.

While it's doubtful that McDonald's will ever completely stop selling beef, chicken, pork or other meat products, the introduction of more vegan choices is a big step for the company, and one that its competitors are keeping a close eye on.

Published on: Mar 15, 2019
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