Food activist and New York Times bestselling author Kathy Freston, who has led a national campaign for McDonald’s to add a plant-based burger to its menu, threw a massive party outside of McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago this afternoon, bringing 220,000 signatures from her Change.org petition calling for a vegan burger directly to McDonald’s. The petition delivery was accompanied by a carnival-like atmosphere, including Impossible Whopper taste tests, a Vegan Hamburglar, a balloon installation and more.
“We celebrated outside McDonald’s today to send the exact message that McDonald’s CEO said he wanted to hear: that customers were interested in a plant-based burger,” said Freston, who has been pushing McDonald’s for a plant-based burger for years. “Fast-food companies are adding plant-based options seemingly every week. How much more demand does McDonald’s need to hear before they listen to customers?”
Representatives from McDonald’s accepted petition starter Kathy Freston’s petition delivery today, but their Vice President of Global Communications, Michael Gonda, made this statement in response to the event: “As a customer obsessed, modern and progressive burger company, we’re committed to offering a variety of menu choices. That often starts by listening to customers to understand changing trends and evolving tastes—so any and all feedback is appreciated.”
“If feedback is what McDonald’s wants, feedback is what McDonald’s is going to continue to get,” said Tegan Gregory, Senior Campaigner at Change.org, the online petition platform where more than 220,000 people have signed a petition for McDonald’s to add a plant-based burger. “This petition is one of the largest food petitions in Change.org history, and even though McDonald’s refused to meet with activists today, they’re not going to be able to ignore the continuing demand for meat alternatives. Burger King, White Castle, Del Taco, Tim Horton’s and more are listening to customer demand, which is leaving everyone asking why McDonald’s is behind the curve.”
A recent study by GlobalData found that 70 percent of global consumers are lowering their meat intake or avoiding it altogether. Barclays predicts the market for meat substitutes could soar to US $140 billion over the next decade.