Beyond Meat shares jump as McDonald’s tests plant burgers

Beyond Meat shares spiked after McDonald’s announced that it will test the company’s plant-based burgers in a handful of restaurants in Canada.

Beyond Meat’s stock price jumped about 10% in early trading on Thursday to nearly $152 per share.

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Starting Sept. 30, McDonald’s said it will sell what it calls the “P.L.T.” — for plant, lettuce and tomato — sandwich for 12 weeks in 28 restaurants throughout Ontario, Canada. The fast-food giant said it formulated the item, which will sell for $6.49 in Canadian dollars, to mimic the taste of McDonald’s regular meat patties.

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“As customer interest in plant-based options accelerated rapidly, our curiosity piqued, too,” Ann Wahlgren, vice president of global menu strategy at McDonald’s, wrote in a post on the company’s blog. “We’ve kept an eye on this emerging trend, and now we’re ready to learn more by running a test in one of our markets.”

Plant-based meat products have soared in popularity, with startups like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods marketing pea- or soy-based patties that mimic the taste and texture of meat. Beyond Meat in May blew away Wall Street expectations when its stock price soared 163% in its public market debut.

It’s also not McDonald’s first foray into plant-based meat. In April, it launched a soy and wheat patty, called the “Big Vegan,” in Germany, one of McDonald’s biggest international markets. It also offers vegan items in Sweden and Finland.

But the new test in North America suggests McDonald’s could soon roll out meatless burgers on its home turf. Other fast-food chains that have put plant-based products on their menus this year include Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Tim Horton’s.

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