MRM Plant-Based: McDonald’s Tests P.L.T. and More Grocers Add Impossible
8 Min Read By MRM Staff
Please send plant-based news to Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's Barbara Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plant. Lettuce. Tomato at McDonald's Canada
McDonald's will be conducting a 12-week test of a new plant-based burger called the P.L.T., which stands for Plant. Lettuce. Tomato. in 28 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario, starting September 30. The P.L.T. is made with a Beyond Meat® plant-based patty that has been crafted exclusively by McDonald's, for McDonald's.
"McDonald's has a proud legacy of fun, delicious and craveable food—and now, we're extending that to a test of a juicy, plant-based burger," said Ann Wahlgren, McDonald's Vice President of Global Menu Strategy. "We've been working on our recipe and now we're ready to hear feedback from our customers."
The P.L.T. will be priced at $6.49 CAD plus tax.
"During this test, we're excited to hear what customers love about the P.L.T. to help our global markets better understand what's best for their customers," said Wahlgren. "This test allows us to learn more about real-world implications of serving the P.L.T., including customer demand and impact on restaurant operations."
Impossible on the East Coast
The Impossible™ Burger made its East Coast grocery-store debut at all 100 Wegmans grocery stores in seven states and at two Manhattan locations of Fairway Market. Though widely available in restaurants since 2016, the award-winning Impossible Burger first appeared in grocery stores just last week, when it debuted at all 27 outlets of Gelson’s Markets in Southern California.
During its first full weekend on sale, Impossible Burger at Gelson’s outsold ground beef from cows based on both revenue and total number of pounds sold. In fact, Impossible Burger was the No. 1 packaged good sold at Gelson’s from Friday through Sunday across the 27-unit chain.
"The Impossible Burger generated more excitement than any other single product we’ve seen in more than a half-century of operations,” said Gelson’s Markets CEO Rob McDougall. “In addition to exceptional sales and volume, the launch initiated a historic consumer reaction from both our loyal and new customers who were thrilled to play a part in the future of food. We look forward to the continued success of our relationship with Impossible Foods."
The flagship product from Impossible Foods is the plant-based meat that rivals ground beef from cows for taste, nutrition and versatility. The Impossible Burger is on menus in more than 17,000 restaurants in all 50 states and in nearly every type of cuisine — from burgers and pizza to poke sushi burritos.
The East Coast debut will quintuple the number of retail outlets that sell the Impossible Burger. As Impossible Foods increases production and capacity — both at its own plant in Oakland, Calif., and with leading food co-manufacturer OSI Group — it will accelerate its retail push.
Throughout the fourth quarter and in early 2020, Impossible Foods will expand its retail presence by launching the Impossible Burger in industry-leading grocery stores in key regions.
“Three years ago we introduced plant-based meat to the world in Manhattan at Momofuku Nishi, where Chef David Chang said the Impossible Burger blew him away,” said Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown. “Now all home chefs in the Northeast can experience their own ‘David Chang moment’ in their own kitchens — and accelerate the inevitable consumer movement toward plant-based food.”
“Wegmans has offered the Impossible Burger in its Burger Bars and Pubs, in select stores, since the spring of 2019, and our customers absolutely love it,” said Ann Johnston, category merchant. “There’s a growing demand for plant-based options, so the fact that customers will now be able to prepare Impossible Burger at home is a big deal.”
A 12-ounce package of Impossible Burger will be $8.99 at all Wegmans outlets. It will be available in the meat aisle and in the meatless protein section. The Impossible Burger is also available as a cooked sandwich from Wegmans’ prepared food bistros.
“Fairway Market started as the city’s premier produce market in 1933, with the freshest fruits, vegetables and other plants — so being the first East Coast retailer to sell the world’s hottest plant-based food harks back to our roots,” said Fairway Markets CEO Abel Porter. “We can’t wait for New Yorkers to experience the Impossible Burger — whether in our in-store gourmet kitchen or in their own homes.”
A 12-ounce package of Impossible Burger will be available for $8.99 at two Fairway locations in Manhattan (74th Street and 86th Street). It will be available in the meat aisle and in the plant-based food section.
North America’s fastest-growing vegan festival is bringing comfort food from across the continent to New York City on September 28, top photo by Jesse Milns, For its fifth season, the vendor line up at Vegandale Festival is looking bigger and better than ever showcasing over 150 vendors. It will feature names like Snackrilige flying in from Oregon, Eat Love from California, and local favorites such as Berben and Wolff’s.
Don’t expect salad at this festival! A few must-try items on the menu are:
- Beer Cheeze Battered Beyond Burger (Southern Fried Vegan, California)
- Fish and Chips (Oh My Cod, Florida)
- Chikn Sando and Cajun Fries (Lettuce Fest, California)
- Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls (Cinnaholic, New Jersey)
- Southern Fried Chicknuns (V-Eats, Texas)
Vegandale President, Hellenic Vincent De Paul, said: “People often think that veganism is a diet for white people eating only salads. We’re out to prove that Veganism is rooted in justice for animals and that you can still enjoy all of your favourite comfort foods without exploiting animals.”
The event will take place on Saturday, September 28th at Randall’s Island Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from vegandalefest.com
Sodexo and Knorr Team on Future 50 Foods
Sodexo is working with food and beverage brand Knorr Professional and leading conservation organization World Wildlife Fund -UK (WWF-UK), becoming the first global player to serve planet-friendly Future 50 Foods on a global scale. Sodexo will feature recipes inspired by Knorr and WWF-UK’s Future 50 Foods report, which identifies 50 nutritious plant-based foods that are healthy, flavorful, accessible and have a lower carbon footprint than animal-based foods.
To create the Future 50 Foods report, which was published by Knorr and WWF-UK in February 2019, a group of scientists, nutritionists and agricultural experts worked together to determine specific healthy ingredients that could contribute to a more sustainable food system. The list combines familiar foods, such as lentils, wild rice and kale, with lesser-known foods like fonio, pumpkin flowers and cactus, selected for their lower environmental impact and high nutritional value.
“Sodexo has a long-term commitment to nutrition and sustainability as a worldwide leading provider of food services,” said Rob Morasco, Sodexo’s senior director of culinary development in the United States. “Future 50 Foods represent an additional step toward more plant-forward and sustainable options. Incorporating a variety of foods into our diets is healthier and more flavorful and helps improve the planet’s overall biodiversity and soil health.”
For the menu launch, Sodexo and Knorr Professional chefs and nutritionists developed 40 recipes using ingredients from the Future 50 Foods report and are introducing them in more than 5,000 kitchens globally.
Initial rollout in the U.S. will feature five recipes in 2,500 kitchens across the country, including those at healthcare and corporate locations. Recipes for meals such as Ancient Grain Granola Bowl, Ube Maitake Tartine, Vietnamese Ancient Grain Bites Plate and a Tuscan Chickpea, Polenta and Rapini Bowl will help consumers incorporate plant-based ingredients into their diets that support the ongoing bio-diversity of our food system and are readily available for purchase in most marketplaces. The Ancient Grain Granola Bowl recipe can be found here.
“People are waking up to the fact that the food we eat is having a devastating impact on our environment. Not only is our food system a major contributor to climate change, it is the main reason that the planet’s incredible wildlife is being destroyed,” said Sarah Halevy, WWF-UK Sustainable Diet Manager. “It’s vital that we change the way we produce and consume food, moving away from an over-reliance on animal protein – carbon heavy foods which require vast amounts of space, water and feed to produce – towards more plant-based diets. Joining forces with chefs and the food industry is an important step, which allows consumers to choose sustainable dishes, helping to drive the change that we desperately need to happen.”
The partnership with WWF-UK and Knorr Professional builds on Sodexo’s commitment to providing consumers with more responsible food choices and contributing to positive impact on the global food system. Sodexo launched 200 plant-based meals in the U.S. last year and rolled out its line of Green & Lean sustainable recipes in the U.K. and Ireland in 2017. Future 50 Foods supports the company’s nutrition and health and wellness commitments, as well as its menu strategies and sustainable sourcing guidelines.
Jamba Teams with Oatly
Jamba partnered with Oatly—a vegan, plant-based milk alternative made from certified gluten-free oats. Jamba locations across the country will carry Oatly, giving guests more dairy-free options than ever before.
The exclusive partnership marks the first national smoothie chain partnership for Oatly. Recent findings show that 65 percetn of guests seek out plant-based, dairy-free drinks in stores—now Jamba is meeting that growing demand and reaching a broader spectrum. Guests can swap Oatly into their favorite smoothie for a delicious plant-based twist or select from two new oat milk-forward flavors: Smooth Talkin’ Mango and Matcha Lemon Squeeze. Blended with Oatly oatmilk, mangos, pineapples and organic agave, Smooth Talkin’ Mango is plant-based and gluten-free. Matcha Lemon Squeeze is a refreshing citrus treat made with lemonade, Oatly oatmilk, lime sherbet, fat free vanilla frozen yogurt, mangos and matcha green tea.
“We are excited to have Oatly on board for this next step in our menu evolution at Jamba and we are proud to be the first national smoothie chain to carry Oatly oatmilk. We’ve been talking with our guests and through research have seen first-hand the growing demand for more milk-alternatives,” said Jamba’s President Geoff Henry. “Oatly is a natural partner for us in our effort to create more plant-based options and meet this demand. Our partnership will not only create an elevated experience for guests, but also help inform new markets of the benefits of oatmilk and reinforce Jamba’s presence as a leader in the smoothie category.”
“We were excited to hear about Jamba’s commitment to expanding their plant-based options and we’re so happy they looked to Oatly to play a role,” said Oatly General Manager Mike Messersmith. “We know that people are looking for fun and delicious ways to shift to a more plant-based diet for their health and the health of the planet. By working with Jamba, we’ll be able to help a whole new group of people do just that.”
JUST Egg at Le Pain Quotidien
JUST is collaborating with Le Pain Quotidien on a chef-crafted plant-based menu item. Le Pain Quotidien’s chef-crafted “Plant-Based ‘Egg’ Frittata” is made with JUST Egg, roasted butternut squash, broccoli, caramelized onions and almond milk. It will replace the restaurant’s previous frittata, which was made with chicken eggs.
"At Le Pain Quotidien, we’re always striving to provide delicious, health-conscious and eco-friendly offerings to a range of diners around the world. This fall, we’re thrilled to be adding the plant-based JUST Egg frittata – a savory, satisfying dish sure to tempt taste buds at breakfast, brunch or any time of day. We’re excited to roll out this protein-packed offering and a variety of other vegan options on our fall menu," said Lou Ramirez, U.S. President, Le Pain Quotidien.
“We’re grateful to be launching JUST Egg with a partner that not only values high-quality ingredients to make simple, nourishing and delicious dishes, but one that also understands the benefits of eating more plant-based foods, for the health of our own bodies and for the planet. Its companies like Le Pain Quotidien that are leading the way to building a more sustainable food system,” said JUST cofounder and CEO Josh Tetrick.