McDonald’s Pulls The Plug On P.L.T.

McDonald’s has unceremoniously pulled the plug on Beyond Meat’s Plant Lettuce and Tomato – or P.L.T. – sandwich. Last October, McDonald’s said it would test the P.L.T. in 52 locations in Ontario, Canada, but now the fast-food giant has removed the plant-based patty from its menu without comment.

Reporters looking for a reason for the disappearance of the P.L.T. have been told the testing phase had ended. But, Food and Wine reported McDonald’s has no plans to “bring it back.”

"We are continuing to evaluate learnings from our P.L.T. test in Canada, which ended as originally planned in April. This test has equipped us with customer and operational insights that will help guide future plant-based menu decisions in markets around the world," McDonald's said in a statement to Fox News.

To be fair, McDonald’s has removed several items from its menu during the coronavirus as a way to simplify operations. And Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown says not to put too much emphasis on the end of a test.

In fact, Beyond Meat – the first plant-based protein product publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange – has continued to perform well in the months since the pandemic began. On April 1, Beyond’s stock was trading at $58 per share and had increased nearly 2.5 times to $143 per share by July 2.

Further, both Beyond Meat and its rival Impossible Foods see the coronavirus pandemic as a growth opportunity.

In June, Beyond Meat introduced “heavier discounting against animal protein” and promised  “aggressive pricing” this summer. Brown told investors on a call that Beyond Meat would introduce lower-priced bulk value packs to grocers who may struggle with supply shortages of beef and pork.

“Our biggest focus is to provide solutions for consumers as they have meat disruptions,” Brown said on the call. “There is an opportunity for consumers to be aware of a different model. There are more opportunities to be relevant to customers.”

Every CEO has confidence in their product, of course, but Beyond Meat’s chief competitor – Impossible Foods – has a leader who is convinced he will put you out of business relatively soon.

Impossible Foods CEO and founder Patrick Brown told CNBC’s Jim Cramer last month that “plant-based products are going to completely replace the animal-based products in the food world within the next 15 years. That’s our mission. That transformation is inevitable.”

That’s a bold statement, especially considering animal protein meat sales in the U.S. last year totaled $50 billion, while the plant-based stuff sold about $760 million. That means for every $65 in sales of red meat and poultry, consumers bought $1 worth of plant-based products.