10 Things to Know About the Latest McDonald's Changes
Last Updated: Oct 12, 2016
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We’re rooting for Ronald McDonald to pull it together, and things are looking up. Luckily for us fast food lovers, America's staple has recently taken a good, hard look at its menu. And while the chain still uses some cringe-worthy ingredients, you may sleep a little better at night when you find out that the Big Mac is now partially sustainably sourced. Here are the top 10 changes on the McDonald’s menu that we’re excited about. It may even make your inner child proud.
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Those rubbery eggs are gradually disappearing from your breakfast favorites. The Egg McMuffin contains a freshly cracked egg, and 13 million cage-free eggs are purchased by McDonald’s every year. By 2025, only cage-free variations will be served. Currently, the eggs and sausage are free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.
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NO MORE NUTRITION MYSTERY
Remember the days when you didn’t know if you were munching on chicken or a science experiment? McDonald’s is working to be transparent with its ingredients, offering a full list, in addition to detailed nutrition information on each item — even the Big Mac’s “secret” sauce. Nutrition calculators have become popular on fast-food sites, including McDonalds.com, allowing customers to calculate calories, fat, carbs and other important info before diving into their Happy Meals.
Related: McDonald's Nutrition Calculator
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McDonald’s is an enormous company, so when it makes a change, you can count on a profound ripple effect. The company not only committed to purchasing a portion of its meat from sustainable suppliers like Cargill and JBS, it also cofounded the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Whether you order a Big Mac, a Quarter Pounder or a traditional burger, you are eating 100 percent beef.
CHANGING LIVES WITH COFFEE
McDonald’s is going above and beyond the call of duty, joining forces with TechnoServe, an organization that teaches coffee-growing countries not only how to use sustainable practices, but also how to yield more crop and improve incomes. Plus, 37 percent of all coffee beans are from Rainforest Alliance Certified, Fair Trade or UTZ Certified farms.
Similar to the efforts of Kashi and White Lily, the company is working to make its ingredients traceable. On its site, you can read about some of the farms and suppliers from which McDonald’s sources its beef, chicken, potatoes and other staple ingredients. Alaskan pollock, a more sustainable fish (due to its naturally fast maturity rate), is supplied for the Filet-O-Fish by a sustainable Alaskan fishery.
Remember those “shakable” salads from the early 2000s? Gag. McDonald’s nixed the bland lettuce covered in high-fat dressing — it made a pretty sad excuse for a “healthy” entree. While the company has put forth concerted efforts with recent salads (such as popular favorite the Southwest), McDonald’s is stepping up its salad game even more by adding variety of nutrient-dense greens like baby spinach and kale as well as romaine and red leaf lettuces
You may remember the “pink goop” scene from “Super Size Me,” but while the chicken nuggets still contain some unfavorable ingredients (like hydrogenated oil and dextrose), they have undergone a significant makeover. They’ve also removed medical antibiotics as well as artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, subscribing to the “less is more” policy. As of today, 100 percent white-meat chicken is the primary ingredient.
Related: Pink goop in Chicken McNuggests? McDonald's Canada Answers
TAKING CARE OF THE ANIMALS
On its site, McDonald’s recognizes that “healthy animals provide safe food,” produce higher-quality products and are less likely to contain dangerous bacteria. The company works with its suppliers to create healthy and humane living conditions, while basing its actions on the belief that animals should be treated with respect.
GILROY GARLIC FRIES
If you love McDonald’s fries, we’re about to blow your mind. Made with fresh Parmesan cheese, olive oil, parsley and garlic from Gilroy, California (the garlic capital of the world), McDonald’s signature potato is now dressed to impress. If you are one for nostalgic foods, the original fries aren’t going anywhere, they’re just getting a major produce upgrade.
LEADING CONSERVATION EFFORTS
With more than 15,000 locations across the United States, McDonald’s has a huge influence on energy and water consumption. In order to be as conservative as possible, McDonald’s has started putting in place several sustainability guidelines. By 2020, the company plans to have converted to 100 percent fiber-based recycled packaging while increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent and in-restaurant recycling by 50 percent.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Were you surprised by the extra-mile effort McDonald's has made to shape up? What aspect of change is most important to you? What's your favorite McDonald's meal? How often to you eat fast food? Do you ever base your decision about where to eat on how nutritious, natural and ethical a company's food is? Let us know in the comments section!
Related: Top 5 Worst (and Best) Chain Restaurants for Antibiotics
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