McDonald’s Corp. and Beyond Meat Inc. are expanding their partnership — a significant step forward for the fast-growing faux meat producer.
Fifty-two restaurants in southwestern Ontario will now serve the “P.L.T." sandwiches — plant, lettuce and tomato that feature Beyond Meat’s pea-based patties — for 12 weeks starting Jan. 14.
“As we expand the test, we’re continuing to listen to our guests across Southwestern Ontario and assess the appetite for a plant-based alternative within the McDonald’s menu," Michaela Charette, head of Consumer Insights at McDonald’s Canada, said in a statement.
The test will include 27 new locations; while three restaurants in Sarnia in the original trial will be removing the P.L.T. from their menus, McDonald’s told Bloomberg in an email.
Beyond shares jumped as much as 3.1% in New York Wednesday, following a 12% surge yesterday. They tripled last year.
Alexia Howard, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, cautioned against too much excitement. “The initial feedback has been largely positive, although it seems that the trial has not been a blowout success thus far that justifies an immediate nationwide rollout across both Canada and the US."
The companies announced in September that the world’s largest restaurant chain would sell the sandwiches in 28 stores in Ontario in a test run.
“We’re pleased that McDonald’s customers have shared they are enjoying the delicious, plant-based burger,“ said a Beyond Meat spokesperson.
McDonald’s also sells an imitation meat burger in Germany with a product from Nestle SA.
The Canadian expansion “doesn’t tell me anything about the US," said Michael Halen, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. Noting the scale needed to supply 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants, he said that Nestle is a more likely supplier.
Beyond Meat has rapidly spread across the restaurant industry in recent years and now has products in 9,000 Dunkin’ stores across the country, as well as at chains like Del Taco, Carl’s Jr., and Denny’s. McDonald’s scale -- with roughly 14,000 locations in the US alone -- represents a unique challenge and opportunity for the company.
Competitor Impossible Foods Inc. has already rolled out a hamburger at US Burger Kings and this week announced that an Impossible Croissan’wich, a sandwich with the new Impossible Sausage, would launch in five test markets at the end of the month.
Impossible Foods, which makes a soy-based patty, had experienced shortages at times as it ramped up production to meet widespread demand, but announced a deal in July with global food producer OSI Group to expand production.
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