Excitement has built since word first got out that popular fast food chain McDonald’s would be trialling its new veggie burger – the McPlant – right here in Coventry.
Today was that day. And it fell upon myself to visit the Cross Cheaping branch to try the latest addition to the McDonald’s menu.
As carnivorous as they come, I’m usually at the very back of the queue when it comes to veggie options.
As much as I understand and appreciate the motivation behind veganism, I simply like eating meat far too much to give it up. It doesn’t help that I tend to be something of a fussy eater too!
But, against that raptorial backdrop, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture of the McPlant.
Despite being made without a hint of meat, it tastes mightily meaty. In fact, if you were blindfolded and asked to sample the McPlant alongside it’s Big Mac brother, I honestly think you’d struggle to tell the difference.
It really is quite staggering and could well be a game changer for vegan-sceptics like myself.
Don’t just take my word for it, though.
Jamie Hammond has been a vegan for ten years. He knows better than most what constitutes a tasty alternative to meat.
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“I never thought I’d see the day I could rock up at McDonald’s and get something that is so gorgeous,” the 29-year-old from Hartlepool says.
“A lot of other restaurants have already gone with a vegan option. I thought to myself ‘what’s taking McDonald’s so long?’
“But some serious graft has gone into that. It’s top tier in terms of vegan options for the big fast food chains.
“It was worth moving down from Hartlepool to taste it early!”
Its recipe and unique mix of ingredients has been painstakingly pawed over by tasting experts and hundreds of customers.
The vegan patty, co-developed with U.S company Beyond Meat, comes with a vegan bread bun, mustard, ketchup, vegan burger sauce, onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato and vegan cheese made of pea protein.
The cheese (and I can vouch for this!) is unmistakably McDonald’s and tastes just like the ‘real thing’ that accompanies many of the chain’s other burgers.
Priced at £3.49, the same as a Big Mac, the McPlant will be cooked separately in the kitchens, with staff trained to use dedicated utensils and trays, ensuring there is no cross-contamination with any meat or dairy products.
Franchisee John Kiley, who runs six McDonald’s outlets across Coventry, said: “We’re really excited about it.
“I think it fits nicely into our burger range because we have lots of different customers.
“We have customers who want vegan and vegetarian products but also people who, even if they meat eaters, want to try something that looks and tastes like a traditional burger. It ticks a lot of boxes.
“We’re really proud we’re launching it in Coventry and we want people to come along and try it.”
Jon adds: “It fits in the same price range as our Big Macs, Quarterpounders and Meals and so it’s competitively priced.
“And, as you can see when you open up the box, it’s a nice juicy burger that hopefully customers will get excited about.”
Grainne Allen, director of food & innovation at McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said hundreds of different vegan cheeses had been sampled before the chain “cracked it”.
Michelle Graham-Clare, chief marketing officer, said: “As with every McDonald’s offering, we take our time to ensure it meets the highest standards and is something that all our customers will enjoy.
“We are always looking for different ways to innovate and meet our customers’ needs, and with McPlant we have a delicious plant-based burger that will appeal to everyone.
“Whether you’re vegan or just fancy a plant-based patty, we’re confident you will enjoy the McPlant.”
The McPlant is available in 10 UK restaurants – seven in Coventry and three in Nuneaton – then 250+ outlets from October 13 and nationwide from January.
For a full list of restaurants visit mcdonalds.co.uk/mcplant.
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