Is McD's bringing vegan to the U.S.? That is the speculation after the CEO casually mentioned during an interview that vegan offerings are on the planning boards for the future. CEO Chris Kempczinski made the remark and sparked widespread conjecture about when this new development could happen. His comment came during a far-reaching interview with CNBC, where he discussed the fact that sales were down 22 percent in March and he only expects things to get worse during the second quarter. Stores are closed in half the international markets they operate in, and in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and France, some store sales are down about 70 percent.

On a brighter note, and looking to the future, Kempczinski said he “certainly expects to see plant-based on the McDonald’s menu” in America in the future. The context was this:

Locations in Europe are showing signs of pent-up demand as they begin to reopen with miles-long drive-thru lines, he told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” but in China, where 99% of restaurants have re-opened, consumers have been slower to resume their old habits.

“It’s really a country-by-country situation because each country’s going through a different level of opening, each country has different consumer psychology,” Kempczinski said.

There are some signs of pent-up demand as countries reopen after COVID-19 shut down most unessential businesses in March and April. Now, in the United States, same-store sales are showing signs of improvement.

Shares of McDonald’s dropped 2 percent in morning trading after the company reported first-quarter earnings, which fell 17 percent compared to a year ago. The stock, which has a market value of $141 billion, has fallen 7 percent so far this year.

Watching McVegan is Like Tracking Harry & Meghan. Eventually, They Made it to LA

The fast-food giant began testing a vegan burger at one restaurant back in 2017, the “McVegan” burger made from soy. They promised to expand the offering to other stores if it proved popular. It took off, selling 150,000 soy-based burgers in a single month. The next step was to roll it out across the rest of Finland, then Sweden, and finally, they brought a version to Germany. Sweden added plant-based nuggets and Finland offered vegan fries.

The “Big Vegan TS” rolled out in Germany in 2019, with a patty from Nestlé’s plant-based Incredible Burger, topped with the usual: onions, tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, and mustard.

British fans of McDonald's know that they can ask for the vegan burger even though it's not on the menu. To make it vegan they must say "Hold the mayo!" But Americans looking for a fast-food vegan option have had to head to BK or White Castle, so the Golden Arches was not their choice, until now. We're getting closer: McDonald’s Canada began testing a Beyond Meat PLT—a plant-based burger featuring a patty from Beyond Meat--but you'd have to drive to Ontario to try it out.

From Finland to Sweden to Europe to Britain to Canada--it's like tracing Harry and Meghan as they move slowly but surely to their new home in LA. We're almost as excited by the McVegan migration. One more tiny leap is one giant step for vegan-kind. Next stop: America. McD's, we can hardly wait.

More From The Beet