The McPlant is the most important product that McDonald’s has launched in recent history, but thus far, the company has remained tight-lipped about its plant-based burger developed in conjunction with Beyond Meat. On sale now in parts of Europe and test markets in the Bay Area and Texas, we’ve never heard how it was created, how it’s selling, and how big a role McDonald’s imagines this product will play in the future of its global menu.
At Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies Summit earlier this week, McDonald’s and Beyond Meat gave their first interview about the burger—and in fact, it’s the first time these two companies have given an interview together at all. I led a conversation between Morgan Flatley, global CMO of McDonald’s, and Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat.
The particulars of this conversation generated large amounts of attention on Wednesday when our coverage first went live, but the full pre-recorded interview was only available during a livestream for MIC Summit attendees. In the interest of clarity and nuance, we’ve posted the complete video interview above: It’s an insightful discussion unpacking how the largest restaurant chain in the world is transitioning to more sustainable protein.
The 45-minute conversation captured refreshingly frank candor from Flatley about not only the future of the McPlant but also how McDonald’s is looking at plant-based menu items in general. Flatley confirmed that, despite reports of sluggish sales in the United States, the McPlant is “a product that is here to stay,” while suggesting that any market hesitance around the product was less about the flavor and formulation and more an issue of messaging. She went on to tease a “big opportunity” for McDonald’s in plant-based chicken, while suggesting that in five years’ time, we’ll see a “full range” of menu items developed in conjunction with Beyond Meat on the McDonald’s menu.