As we start to realise just how bad eating meat might be for the planet, the biggest names in global food are beginning to change the game. In recent years, we’ve seen impossible burgers and seitan “chicken” take the market by storm, proving that the public are more open than ever to the idea of a plant-based fast food diet. Now, it looks like giant international brands like McDonald’s are interested in getting in on the act.
In 2018, the Golden Arches unveiled an all new range of vegetarian wraps to sit alongside their traditional chicken options. This move followed advances made in 2017, when the brand unveiled a “McVegan” burger in Sweden, much to the delight of all Scandinavian-based animal lovers. Now, having offered up alternatives to their signature wraps and hamburgers, the chain have decided to unveil a plant-based variant on everyone’s favourite bite-sized poultry snack. Vegan McNuggets are on the horizon.
Debuting in Norway, the new nuggets don’t rely on strange mushroom proteins or lab-extracted unharmed chicken DNA to make them delicious. Instead, the new dish will contain “a mix of chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, corn, and onion, and are coated in a crunchy breading,” according to VegNews. This places the plants front and centre in a way that few other fast food options can offer.
The new nugs aren’t the only addition to McDonald’s Norwegian line-up. VegNews went on to reveal that the chain “also added a new Vegetarian McFeast burger which features a breaded bean-based patty topped with cheese, “McFeast” sauce, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle,” adding that, “The burger can be ordered without the cheese to make it vegan.”
To anyone who’s been keeping abreast of Scandinavian fast food trends, the new development shouldn’t really come as a shock. The 2017 McVegan burger was an incredible success, with early sales of the soy-based patty exceeding “150,000 in one week,” according to contemporary reports at the time. In a 2017 interview with Foodnavigator, Peter Ruzicka, CEO of the company that provided the patty for the McVegan confirmed that “People want to eat more plant-based food, partly for health reasons, but also because of environmental reasons.” In a way, it’s almost more surprising that it’s taken two years for McNuggets to come under the spotlight.
How the new release will impact upon the business’ strategy for the rest of the world remains to be seen. For now, at least, the chain’s new vegan creations seem to be limited to the European market, with countries like the UK, Sweden, Finland and Norway the biggest beneficiaries. However, with global trends moving unmistakably towards a plant-based approach to eating, it looks like the future for late night Happy Meals everywhere might well be a whole lot greener than we would have thought possible a few years ago. Chicken nuggets will obviously always be awesome, but it looks like they might be about to get some stiff competition.