McDonald's ditched meat-free burger in US because of poor sales, executive admits

Years after McDonald's tested a meat-free burger option in limited markets, its highest executive in America has finally admitted that the plant-based burger was pulled because of poor sales.

Last week, Joe Erlinger, the president of McDonald's in the U.S., attended the Wall Street Journal's Global Food Forum, where he was asked about his company's future plans for plant-based products. Erlinger noted that McDonald's had already tested such a meat-free option, the McPlant, with disastrous results.

From late 2021 until July 2022, stores in Dallas and San Francisco offered the McPlant, codeveloped by Beyond Meat and made mainly of peas, rice, and potatoes. Erlinger said those cities were selected because they were "very different markets" and indicated that they might be able to give the company a good idea of the demand for plant-based menu options.

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According to, the McPlant initially sold better than expected, prompting McDonald's to expand the option to 600 additional stores. Shortly thereafter, sales tanked.

McDonald's by Visual Karsa is licensed under Unsplash
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