• No cheese, no bacon: the McVegan features a soy-based patty and a vegan sauce. (McDonald's)
It might be a while before we see the herbivore-friendly option in Australia.
Bridget de Maine

7 Oct 2017 - 11:35 AM  UPDATED 7 Oct 2017 - 12:07 PM

For a company that’s built a forceful fast-food reputation on the humble flame-grilled beef patty, this new menu addition is quite the departure.

The McVegan, a burger with a soy-based patty, pickle, tomato, lettuce, sauce selection and absent cheese has begun a testing phase until November 21 in the Finnish town of Tampere, a city of just over 200,000 inhabitants some 180 kilometres north of Helsinki.

With developed nations fast adopting more vegan-leaning eating habits (Australia is the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world and the number of vegans in the US has jumped from 1 per cent to 6 per cent in just three years, for example), the majority of McDonald’s global outposts have been left in the wake of other mostly carnivorous chains who’ve already responded to mounting pressure for veggie-friendly menu inclusions. While countries like India and Singapore have long enjoyed vegetarian burgers under the golden ‘M’, Australian customers have had to look to competing eatery chains for their vegan-friendly fast-food fix.

Initial scepticism towards expanding the McDonald’s menu was down to the lack of customer interest, insisted then CEO Don Thompson, who made the comments to company stakeholders in 2011. Considering that same former McDonald’s top dog has just started a new position at vegan meat-alternative start-up Beyond Meat, it seems the push for vegan for employer and employee was only a matter of time.

For Australian consumers, the news is a little less promising: there are currently no plans to roll out the McVegan locally.

“We have a small number of existing items on our Australian menu suitable for vegetarian consumers, however when we have introduced vegetarian burgers on the menu in the past their simply has not been enough demand for the product,” a McDonald’s spokesperson explained to SBS Food. 

The McVegan burger will be on the menu in Tampere until November 21. 

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