McDonald’s is finally taking a nibble of the plant-based burger.

McDonald’s said Thursday that will sell the PLT, or the plant, lettuce and tomato burger for 12 weeks in 28 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario by the end of the month.

The small-market test is rolling out about six months after rival Burger King began testing the plant-based Impossible Foods burger, which no surprise, is a rival to Beyond Meat. It’s now selling those burgers nationwide because of strong demand from customers.

The entry of McDonald’s, the world’s largest burger chain, into the alternative meat arena has largely been seen as a question of when, and not if. Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. bolted 11% higher at the opening bell on the McDonald’s announcement.

It’s been a breakthrough year for the companies that are trying to perfect the no-meat burger.

Beyond Meat became a publicly traded company in May when it listed its shares for $45 on the Nadaq. By July, those shares had risen more than 430%. Impossible Foods has raised more than $750 million, but remains private.

Photo of the Original impossible burger

FILE – This Friday, May 3, 2019 file photo shows an Original Impossible Burger, left, and a Cali Burger, from Umami Burger, in New York. A new era of meat alternatives is here, with Beyond Meat becoming the first vegan meat company to go public and Impossible Burger popping up on menus around the country. Several new vegetarian products are competing to win over meat lovers, but two California companies _ Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat _ are grabbing attention for patties that are red before they’re cooked, making them resemble raw beef. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

McDonald’s Is Pushing Forward, Albeit in a Very Limited Introduction

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are now appearing on fast food menus across the United States.

“Why just a small test? We’re in learning mode, so testing is a major part of how we develop our menu. It’s how we look- before we leap.” Ann Wahlgren, McDonald’s vice president of global menu strategy

KFC last month began testing plant-based chicken nuggets and boneless wings at an Atlanta restaurant in partnership with Beyond Meat. Carl’s Jr. and Del Taco also selling Beyond Meat products. Tim Hortons has tested a Beyond Meat breakfast sausage in Canada.

Impossible Foods announced in May that it was making meatless “sausage” crumbles for the Little Caesars pizza chain in some states.

Fans of Wendy’s have begun a petition to get the chain to add a plant-based burger to the menu. It’s garnered more than 26,000 signatures as of Thursday and earlier this month, CEO Todd Penegor said plant-based burgers are “a trend that will be here to stay.

McDonald’s is pushing forward, albeit in a very limited introduction.

“Why just a small test? We’re in learning mode, so testing is a major part of how we develop our menu,” wrote Ann Wahlgren, McDonald’s vice president of global menu strategy. “It’s how we look- before we leap.”

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