Subway, McDonald’s expand Beyond Meat rollouts in Canada

(Subway video screengrab via YouTube)

Major fast-food chains McDonald’s and Subway are both expanding their rollouts of plant-based Beyond Meat products in Canada, beyond the range of their initial tests.

McDonald’s Canada announced Wednesday it will expand the test marketing of its “P.L.T.” burger from its 28 stores in London, Ont. to also include 52 in Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and surrounding areas in southwestern Ontario, starting Tuesday (Jan. 14).

London was McDonald’s first-ever test market in the world for the burger, which features patties developed by Los Angeles-based faux-meat processor Beyond Meat.

“The initial test of the P.L.T. allowed us to learn more about guest demand and how to integrate this new menu item into restaurant kitchen operations, while delivering the P.L.T. to our guests with the level of quality and craveability they know and love from McDonald’s,” company chef Jeff Anderson said in a release.

“As a test-and-learn company, the McDonald’s expansion of the P.L.T. into more restaurants in the southwestern Ontario region will help us learn more about our guests’ tastes while continuing to provide variety within our menu.”

Subway, meanwhile, announced Monday (Jan. 6) it has expanded sales of its Beyond Meatball and Beyond Meatball Marinara submarine sandwiches to “participating” restaurants across Canada, including a “limited time” rollout in Quebec.

Subway in August announced a “culinary innovation partnership” with Beyond Meat, beginning with test marketings in September for the Beyond Meatball Marinara sandwich at 685 Canadian and U.S. outlets for a “limited time.”

Those test markets represented a small fraction of the Subway chain’s worldwide reach, which includes over 3,100 outlets in Canada and over 23,600 in the U.S., among sites in over 100 countries.

“Canada is a progressive market and we’ve seen strong engagement from consumers there,” Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said Jan. 6 in Subway’s release. “Through our partnership with Subway, we look forward to offering delicious options that will excite new and existing fans.”

Neither the press release nor the chain’s U.S. website mention any further Beyond Meatball rollout in the U.S. market.

The product’s larger launch in Canada includes a run of surreal television commercials featuring U.S. lifestyle maven Martha Stewart, in which she shares plant care tips for growing one’s own Beyond Meatball tree.

“We all know meatballs don’t really grow on trees, however, delicious plant-based Beyond Meatballs are a reality that you can try now,” the company said in its release.

Beyond Meat products’ ingredients in reality include pea, mung bean and rice protein as well as coconut oil and cocoa butter for “marbling” and beets for a red beef-like colour in their uncooked form.

“Martha is the perfect partner to announce the nationwide launch of the Beyond Meatball Marinara sub in Canada,” Cristina Wells, senior marketing director for Subway Canada, said in the company’s release.

“Martha’s green thumb and culinary prowess made her a natural fit to speak to the unbelievable cultivation and care that goes into creating the Beyond Meatball.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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