McDonald’s probably isn’t the first place you think of when you think ‘coffee’ – especially here in Australia – but thanks to its ultra-successful McCafe sub-brand, it’s actually technically the biggest cafe chain in the country, commanding a whopping 22.1% of the Australian market, according to news.com.au.
That’s why it’s such a big deal that the American fast-food giant has just announced that they’ll start offering oat milk at Aussie McCafe locations.
Teaming up with MILKLAB, an Australian plant milk brand you’ve likely spotted at your local cafe, you’ll now be able to get a strong oat flat white with your McMuffin and hash brown before 10:30am (we’re still filthy that Maccas have stopped doing all-day breakfasts, though).
It won’t be all locations and “extra charges apply” according to the brand’s announcement on Facebook, but it’s still a bit of a gamechanger.
It’s a real sign of the times. As 2019 Australian Barista Champion Matthew Lewin has shared with DMARGE, oat milk is projected to be the #1 plant milk for coffee and is increasingly gaining in popularity Down Under for its agreeable taste and environmental bona fides (especially compared to other plant milks like almond).
It also speaks to the broader popularity of plant milk as well as veganism/vegetarianism in Australia. When the world’s biggest fast-food chain starts offering oat milk, it’s well and truly hit the mainstream.
Up until now, soy milk has been the only non-dairy milk Maccas has offered at McCafe. However, individual Australian McDonald’s franchisees have previously experimented with MILKLAB’s lactose-free milk, such as Esperance Maccas on Western Australia’s south coast, as evidenced by this Facebook photo they shared last year.
This oat milk move isn’t the first time that McDonald’s Australia has been an innovator in the coffee space. Indeed, McCafe itself was an Australian invention: now a global phenomenon and a crucial contributor to McDonald’s modern success, the first McCafe outlets were introduced by franchisees in Melbourne, the nexus of Australian coffee culture. Now they’re all over the planet.
The question is this: what’s next? Domino’s doing macadamia milkshakes? Or McDonald’s in Italy trying to convert Italians to oat and soy milk? The mind boggles…