McDonald’s commits to cleaner ingredients and food transparency


McDonald’s is committed to bringing consumers what they want. The recent menu change shows the company’s commitment to cleaner ingredients and more food transparency.

McDonald’s is an iconic brand known world-wide. Just the seeing the Golden Arches is synonymous with Big Macs, Quarter Pounders and the always tasty Egg McMuffin. Growing up, the classic Happy Meal was part of my celebratory experience. Still, this legend in the food industry never is stagnant. McDonald’s continually looks towards the latest food trends, consumer demands and changes in the food industry.

Earlier this week, McDonald’s announced another step in the food journey. The brand announced that seven classic burgers have “no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors and no added colors from artificial sources.” These classic burgers are the hamburger, “the cheeseburger, the double cheeseburger, the McDouble®, the Quarter Pounder® with Cheese, the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and the Big Mac®.” These changes are part of brand’s commitment to build a better McDonald’s.

Consumers are savvy and more food literate. While the need and want for convenience is always prevalent, the consumer doesn’t want to compromise. The on-the-go food choices need to support the consumer’s desire to eat better. If those food choices don’t fit in with the consumers’ lifestyle, the consumer will look for another option.

McDonald’s makes changes to seven classic burgers, photo by Sharareh Drury/Culturess

Even though McDonald’s is a culinary icon, it cannot be stagnant in the food industry and this change shows the brand’s commitment to do and be better. Of course, people do, and will, have that craving for two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese and a sesame seed bun. But, the consumer has a desire to know that this Big Mac won’t contradict all her other daily food choices. Now, consumers want their splurge meal to work within their overall food choices.

These new changes focus on three parts of the classic burger, the cheese, the bun and the Big Mac Special Sauce. Basically, McDonald’s is eliminating the ingredients that consumers don’t want but they haven’t altered the taste, appearance or overall enjoyment of these classic burgers.

McDonald’s food journey, changes to menu ingredients, photo by Sharareh Drury/Culturess

The most interesting change is the Mac Special Sauce. Altering such a special condiment could be quite precarious. Still, these changes show that the same favorite flavor can be achieved without artificial flavors and preservatives. The signature taste is, and will be, in every bite. Using better, cleaner ingredients doesn’t change that taste experience.

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Even with these changes, one ingredient will not be changed. The pickle remains the same. Truthfully, this piece of information isn’t too surprising. Pickles are pickled. The brining process is a way of preserving the cucumber. Consumers shouldn’t read too much into this omission.

Truthfully, these changes could predict broader changes coming to the food industry as a whole. McDonald’s tends to lead the way when it comes to some food trends. Look at the all-day breakfast menu addition that happened a few years back. The brand worked for years to source the ingredients for this menu addition. Now, all-day breakfast is a common part of the food landscape.

While McDonald’s has decided to focus on cleaner ingredients, it is curious that the brand hasn’t yet adopted a trending plant based protein alternative to its menu. Many fast casual restaurants are adding various plant based protein options with much success. Could the chefs at Hamburger University be creating a Golden Arches version of these types of plant based proteins?

Overall, I applaud McDonald’s cleaner ingredients food initiative and its willingness to respond to consumers wants. It proves that this icon wants to stay relevant in the food landscape. With so many restaurant options, consumers are becoming savvier and more food educated. Brands who are not willing to adapt could lose their market share.

Related Story. Is plant based protein environmentally friendly?. light

What do you think of McDonald’s changes incorporating cleaner ingredients? Do these changes make you more willing to enjoy that classic Big Mac? What could be next on the brand’s food journey?