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McDonald's tests McPlant meatless burger at a handful of locations

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McDonald's will offer its first vegetarian option in the U.S. next month, taking its new McPlant meatless burger for a test drive on U.S. menus, the fast-food giant announced Thursday.

"Eight McDonald's restaurants across the U.S. will be testing the McPlant for a limited time starting Nov. 3 while supplies last," McDonald's said in the announcement. The test locations are spread out among seven cities and four states and are El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, California; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Jennings and Lake Charles, Louisiana; and Irving and Carrollton, Texas.

The McPlant patty is made of "plant-based ingredients like peas, rice and potatoes" and is co-developed with Beyond Meat, maker of the Beyond Burger and other meat-mimicking products such as plant-based sausage and chicken, McDonald's said.

While the patty itself is meatless, it's cooked on the same grill used for meat products and eggs. The McPlant is served on a sesame seed bun with American cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, although diners can always request it without cheese or mayo.

A completely vegan version of the McPlant — with plant-based cheese and a plant-based sauce — was introduced in the U.K and Ireland in September.

Beyond Meat stock rose nearly 5% to $109.60 a share on the announcement before wilting to $105.10 a share.

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McDonald's take on a plant-based burger, designed to appeal to meat lovers as well as vegetarians and so-called flexitarians, has already been introduced to test markets in Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. 

Plant-based options have proliferated among fast-food chains over recent years and can also be found at White Castle, Wendy's, Dunkin' and Panda Express. Burger King introduced its Impossible Whopper, a plant-based version of the Whopper, at all of its U.S. restaurant locations in one giant rollout in 2019. Furniture store Ikea last fall rolled out a plant-based version of its popular Swedish meatballs, called plant balls. 

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