McDonald’s is eliminating some unpalatable ingredients from its most popular menu items in a bid to change its image of serving processed junk food.
The move includes removing artificial preservatives in Chicken McNuggets and other items, and eliminating high-fructose corn syrup from its burger buns.
The changes come as the world’s biggest burger chain fights to win back customers after three straight years of declining guest counts at its established US locations.
A representative for McDonald’s, Becca Hary, did not immediately respond when asked which artificial preservatives are being removed.
It’s the latest evidence that major restaurant chains are scrambling to step up the image of their food as they face more competition from smaller groups promising more wholesome alternatives.
Dunkin Donuts, for instance, has promised to put egg in its egg patty. Currently, the patty looks like a fried egg but is a composite of ingredients including egg whites, water, egg yolks and modified corn starch.
In its own push to remove artificial ingredients, Taco Bell is switching to actual black pepper rather than “black pepper flavour”.
Michael Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the changes by McDonald’s don’t seem to address the big picture problem with restaurant food – the overabundance of calories. For instance, he said swapping out high-fructose for sugar doesn’t make burger buns any healthier.