A celebrity-backed petition is pushing McDonald’s to add a vegan burger to its menu. It currently boasts over 183,000 signatures, including an endorsement from Ellen DeGeneres.
The petition was started by Kathy Freston, wellness advocate and author of the New York Times best-selling book Clean Protein, over five years ago, but it has recently gained traction following Burger King's announcement of its new plant-based Impossible Whopper earlier this month.
“As the battle for the best meatless burger ramps up, McDonald’s is being left behind by its biggest rival,” says Freston. “A full third of us identify as flexitarians – people who are moving away from too much meat – so why not have something for everyone? It’s time to move away from old-school food and into a cleaner future!”
McDonald’s already offers vegan burgers in other countries, including Sweden, France, the UK, and Finland. The chain also recently hinted at the possibility of launching a vegetarian burger in Australia. In December, McDonald’s introduced the McVegan to the Chicago headquarters international menu, but it has yet to roll the vegan burger out to all locations.
Chains including White Castle and Del Taco have launched plant-based options in the U.S. over the past few years. Taco Bell launched a test of its dedicated vegetarian menu in Dallas earlier this month, with plans for a nationwide rollout if the new options are successful.
“You'd think McDonald's would be champing at the bit given the frenzy around plant-based foods,” reports Forbes. “This is made all the more confusing since McDonald's former CEO, Don Thompson, sits on the board of Beyond Meat, one of the most popular plant-based burger companies in the world. It's a real head-scratcher at this point, but maybe McDonald's has something in the works for the USA and will be announcing it soon. One can only hope.”