Hey McDonald’s: Just Because You Have A Vegan Burger Doesn’t Mean Vegans Will Eat It
By Alanna Ketler
As a teenager I worked at McDonald’s. I became an expert in the drive-thru and even received a round of applause from the staff once during a busy lunch rush for taking every order effectively and without making a single mistake. I loved this job at the time, as it was a lot of fun. Yet I remember the day I questioned why we didn’t have a vegetarian menu, to which my manager responded “People who don’t eat meat wouldn’t want to eat at McDonald’s even if there were a vegetarian option”. And you know what? I couldn’t agree more.
Not So Fast
I know some of you vegetarians or vegans are out there saying: “Speak for yourself, I’d definitely eat this” and that’s totally fine. People go vegetarian or vegan for many reasons, and health isn’t always one of them. In fact, being vegan or vegetarian doesn’t always mean being healthy, as you can take on the lifestyle while still eating primarily processed foods like imitation meats made from soy and artificial flavourings, fried foods, vegan sweets, etc. For such people, being vegan or vegetarian is strictly a moral choice, made out of concern for the environment or animal welfare, not in hopes of achieving better health.
However, I think a greater number of vegans and vegetarians gave up animal products in order to improve their health, in addition to their concern for animal welfare. Moreover, strict vegans would not eat the McVegan burger because, even though it does not contain animal products, buying it would still mean supporting a massive corporation that is responsible for the death and slaughter of MILLIONS of animals each year. Essentially, nothing coming from McDonald’s could ever truly be “vegan”.
Vegan for Health Reasons?
It’s unlikely that anyone choosing this diet and lifestyle would want to eat anything from McDonald’s in the first place, except maybe out of curiosity. If Mickey D’s wasn’t a place people went to for health food before, why would it be now? Yet McDonald’s is clearly trying to cash in on this growing market, and some consumers, at least, are happy about it.
The McVegan was launched in Finland in October 2017 because customers had been requesting more plant-based and meat-free options. Accompanied by a signature vegan “McFeast” sauce, the burger runs for around the same price as their regular beef or chicken burger.
McDonald’s also introduced the Le Grand Veggie Burger in France, which was the first of its kind in the country. This burger features a patty made with carrots and root vegetables, which definitely sounds like a healthier option. There is a growing trend of people choosing to eat less meat in France, and again, it seems like McDonald’s didn’t want to miss the boat on this opportunity.
The McVeggie was added to its menus in locations across Norway as well.
The Other Side of the Coin
Perhaps it is a bit too harsh to judge McDonald’s for introducing these items to their menus. I mean, at least they are trying, right? Is this a step in the right direction? By giving their customers a vegan option, are they encouraging a plant-based diet? It’s tough to say for sure, but when it comes down to it, it really seems as though McDonald’s is not doing this because they care for the environment, animal welfare, or the health of their customers – they are doing it to tap into a growing market that they traditionally couldn’t access.
November 10, 2018
Also available in: Français