McDonald’s is testing an all-new version of its iconic McNugget — and the move is already stirring controversy

Germans are getting the inside track on a very exclusive menu item.

Beyond and McDonald’s have partnered up to offer a plant-based McNugget at the chain’s German locations. It will join more Beyond chicken-like products that can be found in Kroger and Walmart.

The plant-based food market is estimated to be worth $162 billion by 2030, and restaurants like McDonald’s are eager to expand their menus to include more options for buyers looking to steer away from conventional meat purchases.

Evidence shows that Germany has broadly embraced plant-based alternatives and should turn out to be an adequate proving ground for the meat alternative.

The new nuggets are made from peas, tempura breading, wheat, and corn and will join the plant-based McPlant burger on McDonald’s menus in Germany — if demand for them is strong enough.

Overall, the ingredients in these options are far more sustainable than conventional beef and chicken farms, which take up a vast amount of land and resources and also generate copious amounts of polluting gases at the same time.

It’s unclear when or if the plant-based nuggets will debut in the U.S., but incorporating these new nuggets into more menus would be a step in a new direction for McDonald’s. Chicken nuggets are the seventh most popular item sold at the restaurant, so the new nuggets could mean a significantly reduced demand for chicken.

It should be noted, though, that while this new menu item is plant-based, it is not necessarily vegan (or even vegetarian) — the recipe allegedly also includes milk and eggs and will come into contact with meat and other animal product items behind the counter during preparation.

Still, it presents a more sustainable alternative to poultry. Moving away from meats will benefit the planet and will possibly increase the amount of truly vegetarian and vegan options out there.

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