PETA Placed A Bulk Order From One Texas McDonald's. Here's Why

PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and fast food giant McDonald's have never been the best of friends. Since 1997, the non-profit has engaged McDonalds to try and get it to ease the suffering of animals whose meat was being served in the chain's restaurants, and per PETA , it has also given up a few times and gone on the attack. It wasn't until after a campaign lasting over two decades that PETA got McDonald's to agree to use a less cruel way to slaughter a percentage of the birds in its inventory.

But both sides showed compromise was still possible even in the most contentious of relations when PETA decided to give flagging sales of McDonald's plant-based burger a boost by buying bulk quantities of McPlants, which had been stripped of both cheese and mayo, to give away in Texas and California. McDonald's is currently testing the product in 600 locations, where it is retailing for $5.39, per Bloomberg. According to the site, PETA is hoping the action will be enough to keep the McPlant on as a permanent menu item since, as Marley Delgado, who coordinates the group's campaign points out, adding the McPlant "will save millions of animals' lives, which is our ultimate goal. It's helping sales, getting the word out there."

McPlant's sales have been underwhelming to date

So far, the stunt appears to be working. McDonald's franchisee Joey Blanton tells Bloomberg: "We saw an uptick in sales after that...PETA bought basically a bulk purchase for them to give away, that alone helped our numbers on the units sold per week."

But whether the action will be enough to save the product long-term is another question. MarketWatch reports that the product's sales figure to date was described as "underwhelming," and as one McDonalds analyst at financial services firm BTIG reported, "Their assessment was that they don't see enough evidence to support a national rollout in the near future and that lower sales volumes were slowing down service times, as the product was being cooked to order." The product is selling far below the number of sandwiches franchisees had anticipated. The company thought they would be moving between 40 to 60 sandwiches a day. Some locations are selling 20 while others are selling three to five.

There's still a chance the McPlant can be saved. Blanton tells Bloomberg that he hopes the McPlant will attract new customers who are looking specifically for vegetarian options. "It gives us more options as a restaurant. I thought it tasted good, it had a good flavor to it, but there was a little bit of difference in the texture between eating beef and the McPlant patty," he said.