150,000 McVegan Burgers Sold in January

©. McDonalds Finland

It's obvious people want more plant-based foods, even when they are at a fast food joint.

Last October, McDonald's debuted its McVegan burger in Finland, to great success. A month later it expanded the vegan burger to all stores throughout Finland and Sweden, and has been enjoying high sales ever since. In January alone, 150,000 McVegan burgers were sold.

According to Plant Based News, the burger consists of "a soybean steak, mustard, ketchup, eggless McFeast sauce, tomato, pickles, onions and salad on a roll."

McDonalds partnered with Nordic food group Orkla to produce the burger. Orkla's CEO Peter Ruzicka believes that the McVegan's success is due to a growing interest in plant-based foods. He told Food Navigator:

"People want to eat more plant-based food, partly because of health reasons, but also because of environmental reasons. Less climate impact than a regular burger made of meat... And this has received a lot of attention worldwide. This is a trend, of course, not only in the Nordics."

The fact that McDonalds, of all fast-food joints, has jumped on the vegan bandwagon generates some fierce debate within the vegan community. Some view it as great that a company with such clout in the food industry is choosing to experiment with "a legitimate vegan option." Others say they'd never support McDonalds, no matter how great their vegan burger is, because of the suffering they continue to inflict on countless other animals, and see this as a publicity stunt. As one commenter wrote on VegNews:

"They aren’t selling these as an ethical stand point but just to cash in on the rising demand of plant-based foods. I stopped eating at McDonalds over 20 years ago and they will have to do a he** of a lot more than just one vegan burger to get me back."

This person also doesn't approve of the gesture:

I get the point, and do not eat at McDonalds either because I dislike the fast food industry; however, the success of the McVegan is certainly a sign of changing times. I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of it. That's a good thing.