As a one-stop shop for a quick, filling meal, McDonald’s has always been a wildly popular choice.
But things are changing. In fact, the take-out giant is starting to feel quite a bit of pressure.
Across the world, countries like the United States, China, Japan, Russia and Australia are placing
restrictions on the fast-food giant due to a number of concerns that have recently arisen.
One of the concerns is that McDonald’s is simply not paying enough attention to the demands of its
customers, according to the Business Insider. The franchise isn’t offering clients enough healthier
menu options (if at all) and, with the growing awareness of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and
hypertension, people want the option of healthier foods now more than ever before.
The company has also been accused of taking food processing a step too far and using “pink slime”
in their hamburgers – the unsavoury result of a process where beef trimmings are treated with the
chemical ammonia in order to gain more usable meat. McDonald’s in the US has since denied these
claims in a statement on their site, but admitted to having used the slime in the past. This has added
to customers’ distrust of their products.
Additives in most menu items
Another reason for the decline in support of the fast-food chain might be the additives in their
One Big Mac burger, for example, contains 18 different food additives, and while there aren’t any in
the McDonald’s beef patties, tomatoes and lettuce, there are additives listed in many of the other
ingredients in the meal, according to The Independent.
In fact, additives – chemical substances added to foods in small quantities to improve or preserve
them – are present in almost everything on the franchise’s menu, including their grilled chicken and
Three colorants that have been highlighted on the McDonald’s menu are sunset yellow (E110),
quinoline yellow (E104) and ponceau 4R (E124). The preservative sodium benzoate (E211) also
makes an appearance.
All of these additives, in large amounts, have been shown to negatively affect the concentration of
kids who are already prone to hyperactivity, Business Insider reported.
Another additive found in the chicken alternative of the Big Mac meal, as well as in their chicken
nuggets, is dimethylpolysiloxane. This chemical, a type of silicone with anti-foaming properties, is
also used in some non-food products like putty, chalks and cosmetics.
Chinese meat scandal
This, unfortunately, isn’t where the bad news ends.
In July 2014, a Shanghai reporter secretly taped video footage of contaminated meat being
processed in a Shanghai Husi Food factory. This, according to Forbes Online, is a subsidiary of the US-
based OSI group. Besides showing how contaminated meat was being processed, the video also
showed workers using expired meat.
The captured footage went viral in China and forced local food-regulation authority Shanghai
Municipal Food and Drug Administration to investigate the claims. Officials discovered that the bad
meat products – mainly chicken and beef – were repackaged and relabelled with new expiry dates,
and that about 3,000 containers of contaminated beef were already sold.
Shanghai Husi Food are important suppliers of meat products to a variety of fast-food chains,
including McDonald’s, in several cities in China.
To add insult to injury, Russia’s food-safety regulatory board ordered the temporary closure of five
McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow and Stavropol in August this year. This was said to have been a
direct result of the situation in China, as authorities didn’t wish to take any health risks with Russian
Forbes reports that the fast-food giant has been struggling with store sales growth, which remained
unusually flat, and a drop in revenue over the last business quarter (between July and September
It’s anticipated that the Chinese meat scandal and Russia’s shut-downs will drastically affect the total
figures for 2014, because of negative perceptions leading to a huge decline in customer numbers.
However, even before these issues surfaced, Japanese branches of the franchise were already
struggling and McDonald’s Japan showed a whopping 60% year-over-year decline in net income.
McDonald’s recently released its monthly sales report for August, showing a 3.7% decline in global
comparable sales, mainly due to the Chinese food scandal.
Keeping in mind that China and Japan together account for 10.5% of McDonald’s net revenues, it’s
obvious that the global franchise is suffering considerable losses.
If one considers factors like rising competition from other major fast-food chains, menus with
minimum variety and almost no healthy options, meat scandals, dodgy food-processing practices
and potentially dangerous additives, it’s no mystery why a growing number of people are turning up
their noses at McDonald’s…
– Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/why-americans-are-abandoning-mcdonalds-2014-10
– Mcdonalds http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/your_questions/our_food/ive-seen-a-picture-of-pink-goop-floating-around-on-the-internet-about-your-chicken-mcnuggets-is-that-your-food.html
– Independent, UK http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/on-the-menu-at-mcdonalds-78-additives-some-may-be-harmful-767533.html
– Mother Nature Network http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/8-creepy-mystery-ingredients-in-fast-food#ixzz3H3jUmBHZ
– Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathansalembaskin/2014/10/23/mcdonalds-needs-to-disrupt-fast-food-again/
Image via Thinkstock.
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