SAN FRANCISCOA Change.org petition asking McDonald's to serve a "healthy, meatless option" in the United States has already garnered more than 80,000 signatures since it was started last week, prompting a response from the fast-food giant.
The petition was started by vegan author Kathy Freston. According to Freston, competitors like Chipotle, Burger King, Subway and KFC Canada have all added meatless options to their menus.
More than meatless, Freston is advocating for a vegan option, so the product would avoid allergens, and address health and ethical concerns. She wrote in the petition, "Offering an option that is completely without animal products is ideal, not only for those who dont eat animal products for ethical reasons, but for those who are lactose intolerant or have egg allergies."
McDonald's responded on the matter Tuesday to WBEZ in a statement that said, "At this time, we have many menu items that can be customized without meat like our Premium McWraps and Salads, as well as many breakfast options that are available to order without meat and still provide a source of protein. In our experience, menu items at McDonalds are most successful when enough customers choose to select them. It allows us to ensure freshness of ingredients and overall quality of the food item. Well continue to evolve our menu to meet the changing preferences of our customers."
However, Freston wants more than vegetarian options; she's asking for meat substitutes. In the petition, she writes, "We Americans love a protein center to our meal, so veggies and salads alone (or even in a wrap) wont do the trick; we want something hearty and protein-centric just like the burgers and sandwiches you already have, only with something plant-based instead."
Last year, two other Change.org petitionsone asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from it's kid-friendly Macaroni and Cheese varieties, and one urging Mars to abandon dyes in M&M'sgarnered huge activity from consumers. In fact, in response, Kraft removed remove artificial yellow dyes from at least three of its Macaroni & Cheese products in the United States and Canada.