McDonald’s goes vegan in Europe, Burger King bans 120 artificial ingredients

Brian Sozzi and Julie Hyman discuss the latest news in the fast world, including McDonald’s launching a plant-based burger made from beyond meat and Burger King vowing to ban 120 artificial ingredients from its food products.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: Welcome back to “Yahoo Finance Live.” And Julie, I’m locked and loaded on some news here coming out of Beyond Meat and McDonald’s. At long last, the McPlant, which is essentially a Beyond Meat patty, is going to start get rolled out and get more love from McDonald’s. It’s been a long time in the making for the folks at Beyond Meat and, to a lesser extent, McDonald’s.

This burger, dare I call it that, is going to launch in the UK and Ireland. It will be going in test form in 10 restaurants starting September 29, 250 restaurants starting October 13. The real kicker here they’re teasing a nationwide rollout of this McPlant in 2022. And I know this has been a very important initiative by Beyond Meat’s founder and CEO Ethan Brown to get this burger into more McDonald’s locations. And finally, at long last, I would say after a lot of fits and starts, they’re doing that.

And you’re seeing Beyond Meat shares up about 3%. Julie, this is innovation in its finest form.

JULIE HYMAN: I don’t care if it’s innovation or not. Like, no other company, with the exception of maybe Apple, do we follow the blow by blow of the product and where it’s selling and when they introduce a new thing. And oh, it’s a new grocery store chain. Just, it’s hard for me to get excited about it. Oh, big deal, Beyond Meat’s selling a new thing in a new place.

I’m just being honest here. Like, it’s great. I’m glad there’s fake meat and there’s more choices for people. But I don’t know.

BRIAN SOZZI: Well, it is a stock mover, hence I am bringing it up. But your point is well-taken, Julie. Perhaps we can try these things because football is going to get ready to kick off today. I know that you’re very excited about that, as am I. I’m in the new Yahoo Finance survivor pool, sent over $20 to our producer Val Cavallo for that one, just picked a bunch of random teams. No idea who I picked.

JULIE HYMAN: Football, yet another thing not excited about. But well, that’s what makes the market. You guys can do the survivor pool. And I can sit at home and eat my regular burger or something. I don’t know.

Since we’re talking about fast food though, I do want to bring up another story that I know that you’re watching, which has to do with Burger King and a list of ingredients that they’re not going to use anymore.

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah. I got to give a hat tip to our former colleague and our bud Sam Rowe retweeting this one for me, getting that news out there. Yeah, Burger King, owned by Restaurant Brands, ticker symbol QSR, they are blacklisting 120 ingredients.

And to be full disclosure here, Julie, I had no idea that some of these ingredients were even in this food. Let’s just run through them, aluminum. Aluminum is on the blacklist. 120 ingredients being blacklisted by Burger King. Didn’t realize aluminum was in some of this food. And then also being banned is Violet Number 1– again, not really sure what that is– Yellow Number 1, Yellow Number 2, Yellow Number 3, Yellow Number 4, Yellow Number 5.

Also on the blacklist over at Burger King as well is Orange Number 1, Orange Number 2, Orange Bee and Sudan Red. Not too sure what that is. But again, these are good. It’s a good initiative by Burger King to get rid of these ingredients. Companies like a Panera bread have really abolished lots of things like this many years ago. Good to see Burger King getting on board with this.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, I mean, this is effectively– what this has to do with is there’s been a big activist push on the part of consumers, some consumer groups to get rid of these types of ingredients. To your point, they might not even necessarily have been using them, right? But it does good for them, PR-wise, to say they’re formally not using them. I think that they get the attention around making this kind of announcement. And so perhaps they sort of draft off of that.

I mean, likewise, when you had these various companies saying that they’re not using meat with various antibiotics when the government itself is mandating putting certain mandates in place by a certain time. So they would have to do it anyway. But they benefit from making that announcement.

So in other words, what I’m trying to say a little more succinctly is, this is PR as much as anything else.

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see if it does move the sales needle for Burger King. It’s hard to measure the impact of these things. But you also have to now wonder, McDonald’s, where are you at? Are you using these 120 ingredients? Are you using aluminum in your food? Do you in fact have Yellow 1 2, 3, 4, and 5 in your products along with a side of Sudan Red in your fries and various burgers? So again, ball’s in your court there, McDonald’s.


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