Did the $150M Beyond Meat McPlant Deal Break Down?

McDonalds_BigVeganTS
©McDonald's

The story around the McPlant burger is becoming increasingly murky in terms of any agreement between Beyond Meat and McDonald’s. Recent commentators postulate that the plant-based burger could now be developed by McDonald’s alone, which may result in the loss for Beyond Meat of $150 million in revenues.

As we reported earlier this month, the McPlant was set to be developed in collaboration with Beyond Meat, which was also confirmed by a spokesperson of the company and led to an increase in Beyond Meat share prices. However, the slogan under which McDonald’s advertised its new burger in a press release does not sound like cooperation at all: “McPlant is crafted exclusively for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s.”

According to Market Watch, the collaboration with McDonald’s on the McPlant would have brought the plant-based burger giant $150 million in revenues. Whether or not this cooperation is taking place cannot be clearly confirmed or disproved at this point.

Investment platform Motley Fool noted that a sole supplier relationship is a rare occurrence in the fast-food world, with Coca-Cola possibly being the only exception, speculating that there could be two or three suppliers eventually involved in the production of the McPlant.

McDonald's McPlant
©McDonald’s

Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, said that the extent of cooperation would depend largely on McDonald’s, but emphasised a good relationship with the fast-food giant. Some have assumed that McDonald’s intends to avoid the license fees that would result from using the Beyond brand and therefore plans to develop and distribute the McPlant on its own, as reported by Bloomberg.

Motley Fool cites Brown as stating however that the Beyond Meat brand should be identified on the menu board as it is “in everybody’s best interest to use our brand, and I would resist efforts to not use it”. The article concludes that market analysts find it “extremely strange that neither management team is willing to confirm a relationship or intent to work together.”

Vegconomist will continue to report on the unfolding situation.