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Fast food giant McDonald’s has announced it will introduce a line of plant-based meat alternatives called “McPlant” in 2021. McDonald’s said it would offer plant-based burgers, chicken substitutes and breakfast sandwiches. Barclays Bank forecasts that consumption of meat alternatives might be worth $140bn (£106bn) by 2029.

McDonald’s has tested out a plant-based burger in Canada with Beyond Meat – a producer of plant-based meat.

However, shares of Beyond Meat plummeted after the announcement by McDonald’s as it was not clear who would supply the fast-food chain with the meat alternative. The move towards meat substitutes has been driven primarily by concerns over meat’s effects on health, the environment and animal welfare.

“We are excited about the opportunity because we believe we have a proven, delicious-tasting product,” said Ian Borden, who heads McDonald’s international operations.

However, McDonald’s is relatively late to enter the meat-free market.

Other fast-food outlets including Burger King, White Castle and Dunkin’ Brands Group have already introduced plant-based burgers.

media captionPolice directed long queues of cars at McDonald’s drive-thrus

McDonald’s still relies on its flagship products like the “Big Mac”, “McNuggets” and French fries, which account for around 70% of its sales in its key markets.

The company, which reported market-beating profits for its third quarter on Monday, declined to say which supplier it would use for its McPlant line of products. Beyond Meat insists it is still involved. “Beyond Meat and McDonald’s co-created the plant-based patty which will be available as part of their McPlant platform,” the company said.

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