Three weeks ago, McDonald’s released a commercial touting their “better” chicken mcnuggets.
The aim of the commercial was to show how McDonald’s is responding to changing consumer tastes by making their food healthier….because “We all want what’s best for our kids” …so sayeth the commercial’s narrator.
Soon after the commercial aired on tv, people started flipping out.
Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich claimed McDonald’s is misleading customers about its food.
“I was offended watching this commercial during the Olympics about the preservative-free McNuggets,” Shaich said in a phone interview with Business Insider. “I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ Sure, you’ve got McNuggets that are preservative-free, but what are you dipping them in? Sauces that are filled with that stuff!” (link to article)
“Grossly misleading,” is how Bill Jeffery describes the commercial. The executive director of the Centre for Health Science and Law in Ottawa argues preservatives or no preservatives, deep-fried and salted Chicken McNuggets simply aren’t a healthy choice for children.
“What they’re advocating is so far removed from good nutrition, it’s almost kind of laughable.”
Cue the moral outrage
As a health & fitness professional, this is where I am supposed to jump on the bandwagon and slag McDonald’s for trying to sell us junk food under the banner of health & family & all that good stuff.
And yet…I kinda feel bad for McDonald’s.
Sure, McDonald’s claim/suggestion that their food is healthy is 100% BS. As is their claim that they want the best for my daughter.
What they want is to sell as much “food” to as many people as is possible…just like every other food manufacturer in the world.
And since the fastest growing segment of the food industry is “healthy” food, McDonald’s execs are re-formulating the menu & re-branding their image as quickly as possible.
In regard to their menu, McDonald’s has already stopped using chickens raised with antibiotics prescribed to humans and intends to:
- switch to cage-free eggs in the next decade,
- replace the corn syrup in their buns with sugar
- cook McMuffins with butter instead of liquid margarine, and
- remove the preservatives from their McNuggets
Which, IMHO, is pretty great for the world’s most popular JUNK FOOD restaurant.
Because, we have to remember that since it’s inception, McDonald’s has sold fried meat, white bread, deep-fried potatoes, soft drinks, milk shakes and sugary condiments. And they’ve made billions doing that…because people love that stuff.
Unfortunately, as McDonald’s grew and their restaurants became assembly lines supplied by factory food, the quality of raw ingredients dropped through the floor.
Now, with the public’s shift towards healthier food choices, McDonald’s is responding by improving the quality of their factory food AND introducing healthier new options like kale salads.
Which is a move in the right direction.
Just don’t expect them to go back to selling beef raised from cattle that eat grass…and fresh potatoes fried in oils that can handle high heat…and milkshakes made with milk from grass-fed cows…and buns baked without preservatives.
McDonald’s customers aren’t going to put up with a $10 Big Mac. Not going to happen. It would be financial suicide.
McDonald’s sells fast, cheap, sweaty, greasy & salty food…because that’s what humans like best. It’s in our dna.
And as long as McDonald’s is truthful in reporting the nutritional content of their food, even us health & fitness advocates have to cut Ronald some slack and accept that we are the ones responsible for the food we put into ourselves and our kids.
Even if their ads are manipulative & less than honest.
- Advertising Age – McDonald’s Cleans Up Its Food to Appeal to U.S. Tastes
- CBC News – ‘Laughable’: Critics slam McDonald’s ad for preservative-free McNuggets
- Business Insider – Panera Bread CEO slams McDonald’s for new McNuggets commercial that left him furious
- McDonald’s Youtube video