McDonald’s just threw technology out the window (well, their customers did)

A McDonald's cheeseburger

McDonald’s/Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk

Much of the tech world likes to wrap itself in a cloak of inevitability.

Of course, Web3 will be a success. Everyone will want it. Because every venture capital and technology company is going to want everyone to want it.

Sometimes, however, human life decides to twist in a different direction and technological luminaries lose a touch of their (self-managed) brilliance.

It seems that just a few years ago technology was taking food under its metallic wing and turning it into something very different.

Plant-based was the thing, and who were you to argue?

Fast food brands competed to see who could succeed with the fake meat Happy Meal or Whopper. With beyond the meat, non-meat became a great thing to eat. It wasn’t necessarily healthier—those things were still packed with calories—but it would save the world from the harmful effects of cow emissions.

Recently, however, a very strange event put the notion to the test. It appears that McDonald’s has very quietly sent its McPlant burger out to pasture.

I tried one of these things and found it completely enjoyable. You might, if you wash it down with a glass of wine, persuade me it was beef.

American McDonald’s fans, however, avoided it.

Let’s try a post-game analysis.

A first thought might be that vegans, vegetarians and those who lead a healthy life do not usually go to McDonald’s. However, especially during the pandemic, the likes of McDonald’s were often the only sources of fast, cheap food.

Why not try it at least? Why not appreciate the brains that went into it? Why not help change the image of the meat-chewing muricano?

Also: We tried the 5 best vegan chicken nuggets

Die-hard vegetarian and vegan types objected that the McPlant was cooked on the same grill as the meat version of the end of the world.

But come on, I hear you sniff; perfectionism only goes so far. This was certainly a step in a holier direction.

I fear that some will be sidetracked into political explanations. Because, recently, Cracker Barrel offered a plant-based sausage that caused some would-be customers to accuse the company of being, God no, “woke.”

Could it be that the mere act of being seen with a McPlant burger made some Americans worry about their own image? Could it be that they feared being rejected by friends and neighbors?

The very idea is disturbing. However, one could even take it to a more difficult conclusion. So, let’s go. What if the problem was not even the supposed awakening but a depressing mistrust of science?

Plus: McDonald’s wants customers to use its app for a truly unfortunate reason

Yes, scientists made these burgers. They probably have a Bill Gates chip.

My thing is to undermine possibilities, not to conclude or sully. So I won’t dwell on the fact that McPlant is doing quite a bit better in certain European countries.

Ultimately, I prefer to believe this is a bit like Apple versus Android. There just aren’t many willing changers. So unless McPlant somehow lured new customers to McDonald’s, he was doomed.

How strange that it’s easy to persuade humans to use a new app where they can meet strangers and yell at them, but hard to persuade humans to do something that can help the world.

It might make you think we deserve our fate.

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