McDonald’s boss explains why salad and McPlant won’t be returning

Lauren Lewis
McPlant with red cross over it

McDonald’s US President Joe Erlinger has revealed why the McPlant and salad have been officially scrapped from menus across the States.

McDonald’s has seen a lot of success throughout 2024 with its $5 meal deal. The new bargain features a choice of a McDouble or McChicken sandwich, Small fries, 4-piece Chicken McNuggets, and a small soft drink. 

The new value meal was released in an effort to combat the exponential rise of fast food prices, and to make dining out more accessible for customers.

But there are two McDonald’s items that haven’t witnessed the same success. McDonald’s US President Joe Erlinger said during the WSJ Global Food Forum that salads won’t be returning to the menu due to a lack of demand from customers. 

McDonald's fries
The fries at McDonald’s continue to be the most popular item every single year

“If people really want salads from McDonald’s, we will gladly relaunch salads,” Erlinger said. “But what our experience has proven is that’s not what the consumer is looking for from McDonald’s.”

In addition to this, Erlinger also noted the lack of popularity surrounding the chain’s vegan McPlant, which was tested in two US locations during 2022: “I don’t think the U.S. consumer is coming to McDonald’s looking for the McPlant or other plant-based proteins.”

This lack of interest is corroborated by a report conducted by Mintel, which showed that the plant-based meat market shrunk by 3.6% in 2023.

There are some items at McDonald’s however, that continue to surge in popularity. The McDonald’s french fries are a signature item at the chain, proving to be incredibly difficult to replicate in other fast food joints. 

McDonald’s sells over 9 million pounds of fries per day, making them the most popular menu item sold by the company. 

If you’re curious about some of the most popular McDonald’s items internationally, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 top foods that have US customers feeling like they’re missing out.