So, we finally have the first new Adele’s song in years. But it’s not the only launch that has left Twitter hungry for more this week.
McDonald’s new McPlant burger has also hit 250 branches around the country, following a test-run in Canada and a trial in 13 UK restaurants in September.
The fast food outlet says the McPlant is its first ever plant-based burger and, in the UK and Ireland at least, it’s accredited as vegan by the Vegetarian Society.
The impressive burger stack is built around a plant-based patty from Beyond Meat, a slice of cheese made from pea protein, a new vegan sauce, as well as that Maccies mix of mustard, ketchup, onion, pickles, lettuce and tomato.
Oh, and a vegan sesame bun.
The HuffPost team was obviously keen to put this heavily-touted product to the taste-test. But not before we checked – and McDonald’s confirmed – that it’s prepared in a Vegan-friendly way, too.
“The meat is cooked on a separate grill and used with separate tongs to avoid cross contamination with meat and dairy products,” said a spokesperson, who added that the fries supplied are also vegan, not just because they’re made from potatoes – “obvs!” – but because they are cooked with sunflower and rapeseed oil in dedicated vats, separate from any animal products.
McDonald’s says it plans to roll them the McPlant nationwide by January. In the meantime, four (mostly) veggies from the newsroom got stuck in to give us their verdicts below.
‘The McPlant truly delivers’
“I’ve been vegetarian for around 18 months now, and truly the only thing I get misty-eyed over when it comes to meat is the thought of biting into a quarter-pounder with cheese. So when McDonald’s announced their McPlant burger, I had high hopes – and I’m relieved to say they’ve been met.
“The McPlant is not something I’d advise for anyone who’s after a gourmet burger experience. This is very much a business-as-usual McDonald’s burger that just happens to be plant-based, but if that’s what you’re after then the McPlant truly delivers. The mix of sauces and that slightly dubious lettuce-gherkin combo give the full Maccies experience, and while it could be improved by seasoning it as they would a quarter-pounder, the patty is a Beyond Meat burger so it’s actually a bit fancier than the standard McDonald’s single.
“If you’re after something quick, easy and vegan, this is definitely sufficient. Nuggets and milkshakes next, please!” – Daniel Welsh, entertainment editor
‘Pleasantly surprising for a plant-based patty’
“Going into this taste-test with low expectations, I’m pleasantly surprised by the McPlant burger. The sauciness and juiciness of the burger especially impresses – a factor that sometimes disappoints with fast food. The vegan cheese is nicer than expected too, the flavour not to strong or overpowering. And while gherkins split opinions, for me they were the cherry on top (of the burger).
“I follow a halal diet, meaning I often go plant-based. As a meatless option, I’d be happy going to McDonald’s again for one of these, but it sits lower in my rankings than the more gourmet vegan options on the market. And when it comes to fast food vegan burgers, sorry to say, Maccies, but KFC gets my number one spot.” – Nabihah Parkar, audience engagement reporter
‘A good option, if not a game-changer’
“This burger might be vegan, but it’s still designed to be eaten after a night out. While not the most jaw-dropping on the market, it’s probably the best herbivore option you can find after 3am, smelling delicious and looking pretty appealing.
“Once I start tucking in, I find the actual ‘burger’ part isn’t dry at all, as some veggie products can be, but flavoursome with a slightly meaty texture. The cheese, being vegan too, obviously doesn’t melt, yet it brings the whole burger together. With mayo, fresh lettuce, tomatoes and some gherkins, this burger is the sort of meal McDonald’s is famous for: tasty and quick.
“I’m a veggie, but probably (accidentally) vegan about three days a week. If you’re wanting to indulge while all your carnivorous mates are going for a meal, this would be a great option – but if you are trying to convince someone to become a long-term vegan or veggie, this probably isn’t quite the game-changer you’re looking for.” – Kate Nicholson, senior trends reporter
‘Mcdonald’s is late to the vegan game’
“I’m a vegetarian, but have mixed thoughts about this burger. It starts well: looking and smelling like an authentic Maccies. The patty tastes pretty good, the lettuce is fresh, and it had a surprisingly decent amount of sauce. My problem is that McDonalds is pretty late to the vegan game here, so I expected this to have more shine than the others I’ve tried. Is it a good attempt? Sure. But would I rush back? Only if they brought out vegan McNuggets.” – Sarah Dear, international audience analyst