Don’t expect to see plant-based items on U.S. McDonald’s menus anytime soon.

U.S. president Joe Erlinger admitted that the McPlant test two years ago did not go well in either pilot market in Dallas and San Francisco. The executive made his comments at the Wall Street Journal’s Global Food Forum in Chicago.

Erlinger said the chain has had success with plant-based products in Europe, but domestic consumers aren’t looking for that type of food, according to Bloomberg. He also mentioned McDonald’s would relaunch salads if customers showed demand, but the reality is they aren’t.

Initially tested in November in select Texas, Iowa, Louisiana, and California markets in 2021, financial services firm BTIG reported the McPlant performed well, selling about 500 burgers per week.

However, an expanded February 2022 test in 600 locations saw diminished performance. Analyst Peter Saleh noted sales dropped to about 20 per day and as few as three to five in rural areas. The low volume meant the item had to be cooked to order, which lengthened drive-thru times by about a minute. Franchisees were unimpressed with sales, which cast doubt on a national rollout.

Introduced in 2020, the McPlant features a patty made from peas, rice, and potatoes, served with standard burger toppings on a sesame seed bun. Beyond Meat was chosen as the preferred supplier. Marketed towards flexitarians, it’s cooked on the same equipment as meat items. While the U.S. test faltered, the McPlant found success in Europe. After a well-received pilot, it launched across all U.K. and Ireland stores.

Erlinger said McDonald’s is focusing more on chicken, which is currently performing better than beef products, Bloomberg said. The chain revealed in February that its McCrispy sandwich has transformed into a $1 billion brand across 30-plus markets worldwide and that its chicken category now represents $25 billion in annual systemwide sales.

Burgers, Fast Food, Food, Menu Innovations, Story, McDonald's