This week, McDonald’s New Zealand announced it had added the McVeggie burger to its menu following a successful trial earlier this year.
The burger is described as being a “delicious crispy patty” made from potatoes, peas, corn and onion, with the slogan: “Veggies never tasted so good.”
However, the description includes the caveat that the burger is “not vegetarian” due to the way in which it is prepared.
“With the equipment we have available, we have to cook the patty in the same oil used for other products like McChicken patties,” David Howse, the general manager for McDonald’s New Zealand, told The Guardian.
“This product is intended for flexitarians, rather than being vegan or vegetarian, but for some vegetarians our preparation method will be OK.”
While McDonald’s New Zealand has made it clear in the burger’s description that it may not be deemed suitable for vegetarians, McDonald’s spokesperson Simon Kenny said the firm is aware that “there will be vegetarians that are disappointed this isn’t a vegetarian product”.
While some said they feel the launch of the burger is a “tiny step in the right direction”, others described it as “disappointing”.
“They have made completely the wrong call, the world is moving towards plant-based eating and this is so off the mark, it’s almost funny,” one person commented.
“I would be way happier if it was prepared vegetarian. But it’s progress. The more veg food the better,” another remarked.
Earlier this year, the McVeggie burger was launched at McDonald’s Australia with the same stipulation that it is not an entirely vegetarian product.
McDonald’s also launched its first ever “vegan-friendly” Happy Meal, which could not be described as vegan as the tortilla wraps in the range pass through the same toaster used for burger buns, which contain milk.
The class-action lawsuit alleged that the burger was contaminated by meat residue because it was cooked on the same grill as meat burgers.
According to the complainant, the fast food restaurant had no disclosures on its menu stating that the burger would be cooked on the same grill as meaty menu items.