McDonald’s globally is attempting to shake-off its image that it sells junk food ladened with preservatives. Instead, selling the message of “cleaner food” alongside better animal welfare initiatives.
According to media reports, the global fast food chain is taking high-fructose corn syrup out of its buns and preservatives out of (its biggest selling product) its nuggets. Macca’s bosses claim its food is turned around so quickly these days that there’s no need for all the extra additives. It will also amp up the message it’s switching to cage-free eggs and its chicken is hormone-free.
McDonald’s global creative account is presently down to two – DDB (Omnicom) and Leo Burnett (Publicis) after WPP pulled out in May citing “crazy client demands”. DDB are Macca’s current Australian creative agency.
It’s believed McDonald’s has had to respond to a dramatic fall in sales globally but particularly across its US chain of stores. The burger joint has had to fight off a number of newer, nimbler rivals of late offering healthier options. However, detractors of the mooted changes say the company is not dealing with the biggest perception about its food and that it’s ladened with calories.
“Why go to the position of trying to defend them, if the consumer is saying, I prefer not to have that particular ingredient in my food?” said McDonald’s US boss Mike Andres of the new changes to the menu.
Meanwhile, the company’s chief supply manager Marion Gross has said the company has been able to eliminate the preservatives in its food because of marked changes in its wholesalers and distribution.
“In the early days we didn’t have as many distributors so we wanted a long shelf life so could go across the country,” Gross told US Fortune.com. “Times and infrastructure have changed.”
However, the new health message is yet to fully resonate in Australia (although fructose corn syrup was phased out of local buns some time ago) with recent Macca’s pop-up stores selling only fries (dripping in gravy and sauce) causing consternation among nearby residents and nutritionists. While in April there was reports that some US stores were set to trail “all you can eat fries” with any burger purchase.