By JIM WALTONWASHINGTON, Dec 22 (Reuters) – McDonald’s Inc will phase its sale of its hamburger and breakfast items to be made from non-animal sources by 2026, its corporate office said on Tuesday, setting a timetable for its shift away from meat-based foods.
The company said in a statement that it was announcing the change after months of discussion and consultation with its suppliers.
The announcement came after an annual survey of burger, breakfast and other fast-food chains in the United States showed more than 80 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to buy a burger from a plant-based food source by 2027 than from a meat- or dairy-based option.
A total of about 5.3 million hamburgers and breakfast sandwiches will be produced by plants based on non-animals by 2031, according to the survey by research firm Retail Insights.
McDonald’s had said last year it would phase out meat- and dairy-free burgers by 2025.
It said that, based on a number of factors, including increased demand for healthier options and greater availability of meat-free products in grocery stores, it decided to make the shift in 2021.
McDonald’s said it will gradually phase out beef-based burgers and eggs by 2021, while the company said it was planning to phase out milk-based meals by 2022.
McNabb, the chief executive, said in April that the company was changing its burger menu in response to a changing marketplace, which has seen demand for vegan and vegetarian options and more consumer-oriented choices.
Mcnabb also said at the time that the firm would be ending the use of artificial insemination for new beef calves by 2040, and ending its use of antibiotics in its pork products.
McLaren, the top U.S. automaker, plans to phase the use and use of hydrogenated oils from 2025 to 2022, and its first-quarter sales will be driven by an increase in sales of non-carbonated beverages.
The shift to plant-made food will be an important element of the company’s plan to grow its sales by 3.9 percent this year and 6.4 percent in 2021, according a statement.
McConnell said McDonald’s plans to use natural ingredients, such as fruit and vegetables, in its burger and breakfast, as well as plant-derived oils and proteins.
McKesson, the second-largest U.K. drugmaker, plans a similar shift in its menu in 2021 to cut its costs by up to 25 percent, the company added.
The decision comes as the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has urged countries to make a move toward plant-free and plant-meat-free food, in an effort to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.
McNeil, a maker of natural products, also announced plans to stop using antibiotics in livestock, with the aim of lowering its antibiotic use by 30 percent.
McKinsey & Dale, a global consulting firm, said it is also exploring options for eliminating the use a number the meat and dairy products, and the dairy products are to be phased out.
McDonnair said it had decided to phase its production of egg-based products to plants that produce egg whites and eggs in 2020 and 2021.