Vegan burger at McDonalds! Yes, you heard me right. We said “Vegan burger at McDonald’s.” Some of us thought we’d never see the day when McDonald’s would serve up a vegan burger. But, the fact that that day has come shows just how much the plant-based diet is catching on.
The new vegan burger is debuting at their headquarters in Chicago Illinois. They’ve put it front and center. The new burger is called the McAloo Tikki and consists of a toasted bun filled with a veggie patty made with potatoes, pea, and seasoning reminiscent of samosas; topped with fresh red onions, tomato slices, and an eggless creamy tomato mayo (this still has some dairy though). Read more
Veggie burgers ain’t what (and where) they used to be. The food industry has been making one innovation after the other and spreading the availability of veggie burgers far and wide, including some unexpected places.
The new McVegan
A few days ago, news broke that rocked the veggie burger landscape: McDonald’s, yes McDonald’s, is testing a vegan burger. Meet the McVegan. Hoping to quietly test the McVegan away from the attention of the American public, McDonald’s went to a far away, really far away, place, Finland. Yup! the future of the new McDonald’s vegan burger is in the hands of the Finns. But don’t worry, they won’t let us down. The new McVegan is already getting rave reviews. If the test goes well, we may just find the new vegan burger right here at home.
The Impossible Burger
Meanwhile, when the good people at Impossible Foods said they were going to make a veggie burger so realistic it will bleed and even char just like a juicy hamburger, many people said that’s “impossible.” But they’ve done it, and it is quickly being made available around the country. The burger contains no animal fat, yet the flavor profile mimics that of 80/20 ground beef. Before it’s seasoned and layered with toppings, a nearly three-ounce patty clocks in at 220 calories and costs $13 – a little pricey but the price has been coming down.
Many people see a very profitable future for the new Impossible Burger. That’s why Impossible Foods secured $80 million over five years to develop the product that was later backed by Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures. The Impossible Burger is not yet available here in Washington but it’s getting close. The Impossible Burger is available in St. Helena in northern California. Because they use no animal products, the Impossible Burger uses a fraction of the Earth’s natural resources. Compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. And of course, no animals were hurt in the making of these burgers!
The dream of all-vegetarian McDonald’s restaurants has taken a step closer to becoming a reality. After offering 50% vegetarian menus at most of its restaurants in India, McDonald’s has taken the next step with the announcement of their first two all-veg restaurants, which will open in India in the next few months.
While this is big news for the global veg world, it has many in the veg movement hoping that other countries will be next, including the good old US of A. A recent survey showed that fully 40% of the Indian population follows a vegetarian diet. While the percentages are lower here in the US, one recent survey showed that there are as many as 15 million vegetarians in the US and millions more veg-curious. With deeper pockets than their Indian counterparts, McDonald’s may just be tempted to tap into that market, if their experiment in India pans out as expected. The fact that McDonald’s is able and willing to respond to cultural norms is a good sign that the company is not irrevocably stuck in its ways. American consumers will have to drive the changes they’d like to see to McDonalds’ menu, by letting the company know of their desires, and that’s where we can all make a difference.
Their first vegetarian restaurant in India will open its doors middle of next year. It will be located near the Golden Temple in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in northern India, where religious authorities forbid the consumption of meat at the shrine. After the opening in Amritsar, the US chain has plans to open another vegetarian restaurant near the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in northwestern Indian Kashmir – a revered Hindu pilgrimage site that draws hundreds of thousands of worshippers each year. The vegetarian restaurants will sell items such as the McAloo Tikki burger, a sandwich with a mashed-potato patty, and the Pizza McPuff, a vegetable and cheese pastry.