A Change.org petition has seen an influx of signatures since Burger King started testing its plant-based Whopper.


Not that Burger King is always stuck skulking in McDonald’s shadow, but as America’s second largest fast food burger chain, it happens quite a bit. So last week, when Burger King announced a partnership with Impossible Foods to test a plant-based version of the Whopper, the next logical question became, when will McDonald’s follow suit?

mcvegan in mcdonalds
Credit: Courtesy of McDonald's

In analyzing the answer earlier this week, I posed a further question: If meat-free options truly are inevitable, how much time does McDonald’s have before public sentiment turns on them? As an example, I pointed to a Care2 online petition hoping to “Bring Vegan Burgers to McDonald’s!” that already has over 63,000 supporters. It turns out that’s not the only petition that’s seen revived interest since Burger King’s announcement.

A half-decade old Change.org petition telling McDonald’s that “It's Time For A Healthy, Meatless Option (Please!)” has also seen an influx of new support since Burger King’s April 1 news and now features over 161,000 digital signatures and counting.

The petition was drafted by Kathy Freston — a best-selling author and healthy living advocate who’s talked to TV bigwigs like Oprah and Ellen — and even though she launched it over five years ago, she believes that joining this online movement can still have an impact today. “A petition articulates a feeling in the culture and names the issue,” she told me via email. “In this case, consumers want healthier and more ethical choices in their favorite restaurants; we are tired of being handed old-school choices and we want cleaner options. (Not just some wrap with all the fixings like lettuce and tomato.) Our knowledge of what goes into meat is evolving, and thus our tastes are changing along with that. The company needs to know that the culture is shifting, and a petition shows them just how meaningful that shift is. Perhaps more importantly, circulating a petition reinforces the sentiment and drives the movement even further. It's a way of stoking progress.”

Meanwhile, Tegan Gregory, a senior campaigner at Change.org, also spoke to the power of petitions. “Online campaigns have worked before to rally customers to push brands to add or bring back food items,” she told me. “Menu items have been added at Taco Bell; Kellogg's has brought back flavors of cereal; even McDonald's brought back a Chicken McNugget sauce after a viral online petition. Food companies respond to customers' wants. Moreover, with fast-food outlets like White Castle and Burger King expanding the use of their vegetarian burgers, there's really a national moment to focus on McDonald's.”

If you’d like to sign the petition, Change.org has made it handy with the easy to remember URL: Change.org/McVegan.