Be careful, Big Mac — McDonald’s first-ever vegan meal is set to hit menus in the U.K. in early 2020.
On Jan. 2, Mickey D’s will introduce its inaugural vegan meal across the pond with the launch of Veggie Dippers. The breaded bites will be filled with red pepper, sundried tomato pesto, split peas and rice, and will retail for about $4.30, Delish reports. Hungry customers can make their meal complete with fries (which are reportedly vegan-friendly in the U.K.) while youngsters can enjoy the Veggie Dippers in their Happy Meal order, too.
Last year, McDonald’s menus in the U.K. debuted the Spicy Veggie One wrap with red pepper and pesto goujons (fried strips) as a vegetarian option, and the product was considered a success. The dish was not touted as vegan, however, as the wraps were not prepared in a way that avoided contamination with dairy products, per Metro.
Things are different this time around, however, because new Veggie Dippers will not come into contact with any dairy ingredients during preparation, a McDonald’s official confirmed.
“The Veggie Dippers are the same goujons as those used within the Spicy Veggie One but are prepared in a way that avoids contamination with any dairy ingredients, making this product fully vegan,” the spokesperson told Delish.
According to Thomas O’Neill, an executive in food marketing for McDonald’s U.K. and Ireland, the time is right for the iconic fast food chain to serve up vegan fare.
“In the last 12 months we’ve seen an 80 percent uplift in customers ordering vegetarian options at McDonald’s, so it is time for the brand famous for the dippable McNugget to launch a dippable option for our vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian customers,” O’Neill explained. “The Veggie Dippers are a delicious addition to our menu and we’re looking forward to seeing what customers make of our first vegan Extra Value Meal and Happy Meal in the New Year.”
Though McDonald’s is the largest fast-food chain in the world with over 60,000 restaurants, CEO Steve Easterbrook admitted earlier this year that the company is paying "close attention" as its competitors increasingly experiment with vegetarian and vegan fare.
Among them are burger restaurants like Carl's Jr, which added a vegan Beyond Burger to its menu this year, and White Castle, which adopted the Impossible Burger sliders in 2018. Taco Bell announced a fully vegetarian menu rolling out this year, while Del Taco has announced a Beyond Meat taco and Chipotle has created two new plant-based “lifestyle bowls.”
According to market research from Nielsen, sales of plant-based meat alternatives have grown 23 percent between 2017 and 2018 to over $683 million.
A spokesperson for McDonald’s was not immediately available to offer further comment regarding whether or not there were any plans to bring any vegan options to Golden Arches in the US.
A long-running Change.org petition urging McDonald's to introduce a vegan option to American menus has received over 231,000 signatures to date.
Fox News’ Alexandra Deabler contributed to this report.