McDonald’s goes (a tiny little bit) veggie

McDonald’s is opening its first two vegetarian-only restaurants – near the sites of two of India’s most popular religious shrines, the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar and the Hindu shrine of Vaishno Devi in the town of Katra.

McDonald’s outlets in India don’t sell beef burgers in deference to Hindus and rivals Subway and Domino’s Pizza also major on vegetarian meals in some parts of the country.

But two of its new products at least – the McVeggie, a patty of carrots, peas with potato and the McAloo Tikki, a deep fried patty of spicy mashed potatoes could find their way onto more menus in India and the world outside.

Indian food is already reckoned to be the UK’s most popular as far as restaurants and takeaways are concerned with Chicken Tikka Masala, a horrible and un-authentic combo of chicken and cream cited as the nation’s most popular dish.

The Indian chain restaurant market is forecast to grow from £600m to £1.2bn over the next few years while McDonald’s plans to double the size of its 270 or so branch network. McDonald’s takes a regular beating for the quality of its ‘beef’ and the environmental consequences beef rearing has in various parts of the world, chiefly Brazil.

Curried mashed potatoes in a bun (the McAloo Tikki) might do wonders for its image – and its margins.

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