Meat, from the US and Denmark, the lesson we don’t want to learn

Meat, from the US and Denmark, the lesson we don't want to learn

Within a short period of time from each other, two somewhat convergent and parallel (as they would have once said) news broke in the US and Denmark. In the U.S., McDonald’s declares the failure of McPlant menus and, two years after their introduction, withdraws sandwiches with “plant-based alternatives to meat” (i.e., Beyond Meat’s legume, soy, and grain composites). On the other, the Danish government approves the first livestock tax.

News from the US and Denmark

So, according to what reported by the Post, McDonald’s has taken note that demand for vegan burgers in the States is not strong enough to support the production of an ad-hoc menu. The same failure was experienced in cities, such as San Francisco, despite marketing strategies that pitched McPlant as an exceptional, limited-edition product. The indifference to vegan burgers affects McDonald’s target customers, among others. “According to the Good Food Institute, an American nonprofit organization that studies and promotes the spread of alternatives to animal protein”, “the number of people seeking alternatives to meat in the United States had grown a great deal between 2019 and 2021, but has been declining since then”.

The dream of manipulating the market

McDonald’s dreamed of creating a public desire for plant-based alternatives, but even marketing activities didn’t bring it to achievement. Ton the other hand, the Danish government has other means, and wants to manipulate the market via taxation. News broke at the end of June that an annual tax of 672 kroner (just under 90 euros) per head of livestock was to be applied starting in 2030. According to the government, the tax is compensation for GHG emissions from the meat industry, and that the proceeds will be reinvested to support green transition initiatives.

But it seems clear (and has been ever since discussion over the tax began), that the Danish tax is conceptually similar to those on tobacco and sugar. Simply put, surcharges imposed for the purpose of making consumption, deemed harmful to public health, less convenient. The Danish government, in short, wants to convince its population to eat less meat through the application of a tax. But the food market does not wish to be manipulated or led, but rather left free to steer toward the product it desires.

McDonald’s McPlant pictured

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