The move is the latest by an industry leader that has tremendously overhauled its menu, formulations, and operations in the past several years in a bold—and increasingly successful—attempt to retain the millennials and establish a foothold with Generation Z. Younger consumers are those most concerned with eating pristine, fresh food and having more nutritious options than McDonald’s used to provide via Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, Chicken McNuggets, and those delicious fries.
Specifically, the chain said it plans to remove artificial preservatives, artificial flavors and added colors from artificial resources from hamburgers, cheeseburgers, double cheeseburgers, McDoubles, Quarter Pounders with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounders with cheese and Big Macs sold at all US locations. The commitment follows previous steps such as making Quarter Pounders in the US with fresh beef, replacing high-fructose corn syrup with sugar in its buns, removing artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets, reverting to butter instead of liquid margarine in Egg McMuffins, and vowing to serve only cage-free eggs by 2025.
“We know quality choices are important to our customers, and this latest positive change to our classic burgers demonstrates our committed journey to leading with the customer and building a better McDonald’s,” Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald’s USA, told journalists.
“This really is meant as another proof point in what we’re doing at McDonald’s to enhance the quality of the food. We hope it’s the cumulative impact of all the changes we’ve been making that will move perception.”
Arguably, all the changes have been doing much good, as the company posted an increased in same-store US sales of 2.6 percent in the second quarter, extending a turnaround that began a couple of years ago as CEO Steve Easterbrook took the helm and began initiating changes left and right.
But the latest quarterly result fell short of analysts’ expectations for 3-percent sales improvement during the period. And competition isn’t standing still, either, as McDonald’s must compete broadly — not just with burger chains, but also with chicken champion Chick-fil-A, which has said along with McDonald’s that it’s going to eliminate antibiotics from its chicken, and even Chipotle Mexican Grill, a fast-casual chain that is re-emphasizing its sourcing of fresh, natural ingredients in a new advertising campaign.