McDonald's McPlant burger arrives in Sussex: Here's what we thought
After being released in 250 restaurants last year, McDonalds' new vegan burger — the McPlant — has been rolled out nationwide just in time for Veganuary.
McDonalds' latest vegan offering has come to Sussex.
The McPlant, which took the fast-food chain three years to develop, contains all the classic ingredients that gives a Big Mac its signature flavour. The burger is made up of a Beyond Meat patty, vegan cheese alternative, sesame bun, iceberg lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup, sandwich sauce, mustard and, of course, pickles.
Does it have what it takes to rival the Big Mac, though? We got a vegan, a vegetarian and a meat-eater to test it out.
Here's what we thought:
Reporter and vegetarian Joe Stack said:
"As an occasional scoffer of the 'Vegetable Deluxe' at McDonald's — when I heard the McPlant burger was on its way to Sussex's golden arches I was chomping at the bit. Finally, a meat-free burger that has more than just breaded veg.
"Topped with tomato, iceberg lettuce, mustard and gherkins, it feels like the closest thing I have been to a Big Mac in my six years of vegetarianism.
"But it takes no more than one mouthful of the beefy likeness for one to realise that fast food still has big strides to take before vegan offerings can nudge their meatier counterparts off the top spot.
"It's good, but it is by no means great. The burger is dry and is slightly lacking in flavour and it's not huge either — a hungry reporter could easily gobble the fare in under five minutes.
"But what can I expect? It's McDonald's, and as far as a tepid meal for a fiver goes - it'll do.
"I don't doubt there will be late Saturday nights when the McPlant and I cross paths again but I certainly won't be rushing back.
Apprentice journalist and vegan Megan Baker said: "It had been a long time since I'd had a burger from McDonald's so I didn't really have anything to compare it to, but I do remember loving a Happy Meal as a kid.
"This desire for nostalgia, combined with the rave reviews I'd heard from vegans who tried the McPlant when it first rolled out, meant my expectations were high.
"Maybe that was my mistake.
"After biting into the burger I waited for my tastebuds to be hit with a salty, meaty wave of nostalgia, but instead, I was hit with, well, not much, to be honest.
"The patty was thin and lacking in flavour and the burger was somehow simultaneously far too saucy and far too dry.
"At the risk of sounding too much like a stereotype, the generous amount of salad in the burger was probably my favourite part.
"Overall, the McPlant wasn't awful, but it wasn't great either. It was, however, cheap.
"I would get this again if my options were limited, but there are definitely better options out there.
Apprentice journalist and meat-eater Joss Roupell said: "For years the McDonald's vegan menu has been a McfacePlant, it was uninspired and fell way behind the traditional meaty menu.
"The McPlant has changed all that, sure it does not compete with the Double Cheeseburger, the high-water mark in burgers' long and glittering history, but it certainly competes with some burgers out there.
"I have always regarded synthetic meats as unnecessary and unable to compete with or even taste like normal meat.
"The question, however, is not whether synthetic meat can taste like meat? It is if a vegan option can really beat the meat?
"The McPlant's non-meat patty is thicker than typical McDonald's patty and is surrounded by perhaps too much ketchup and sandwich sauce and housed in a disappointingly dry bun. All of this combined with the lettuce and tomato gives the McPlant a similar flavour palate to that of a Burger King burger.
"Would I buy this again? Only if I was vegan. And stuck on a motorway. Whilst also running out of fuel. And nothing else was open. And there was nothing else on the menu.
"But if you put a gun to my head and asked me: Does it taste like meat? I would shrug, 'sure'. However I'd much rather have a meal that tastes nicer, than a meal that tastes like meat.
"Regarding my views on synthetic meats, the McPlant has made me take the chip off my shoulder, dip it in ketchup and eat it, however, I'd much rather eat something tastier.