Monday, October 24, 2005

McDonald's ads to tout food quality

REUTERS - McDonald's on Monday will kick off a two-day media event to tout the quality of its food and combat critics who say its burgers and fries are unhealthy... McDonald's in recent months has blamed the poor image of its food among British consumers for a falloff in sales in Britain. To prevent that from spreading further, one marketing expert said the company wants to shift the focus away from its burgers' fat and calorie content.

"Maybe if people think they have this terrific quality, then they'll forget about the calories and the fat," said Jack Trout, president of marketing strategy firm Trout & Partners. "Will it fix it with the naysayers? No. But what it will do is present more of a rationale for the people who take their kids to this place."

Where burgers come from

One of the myths Gonzalez-Mendez said the new campaign aims to eradicate is the perception that McDonald's burgers are filled with additives and other non-beef ingredients. To combat that assertion, the company invited Reuters to tour the Lopez Foods Inc. meat processing plant, where 2,000-pound containers of beef are fed into gigantic metal grinders before being pressed into patties, frozen and finally stacked into cardboard boxes.

Tests for bacteria like E.coli that cause food-borne illnesses are conducted before the meat is allowed to be unloaded at the plant, Lopez executives said. Further tests are also conducted at Lopez's own laboratory.

Each box of patties is labeled with a tracking number that can be traced back to the meatpacker that supplied the meat. In addition, more than 10 percent of McDonald's beef is currently traceable back to the individual animal, according to Gonzalez-Mendez. Opening up its suppliers' facilities to the media is one of the ways McDonald's is trying to be more transparent about where its food comes from.

Color me impressed!!! Mmm mmm - there's something satisfying knowing that one of every ten bites of McDonald's hamburger can be traced back to an actual cow.


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