McDonald’s: It Ain’t Just Burgers and Fries!

As iconic images go McDonald’s golden arches stand as one of the most recognized symbols worldwide. As such they are often subject to the changing tides of customer demand as well as scrutiny from competitors and critics alike.  With healthy eating habits and lifestyles taking over much of the fast food scene it comes as no great surprise that McDonald’s leads the  charge with a menu filled with healthier options.  We were invited to a first taste event just this week, which featured several new menu options as well as a demonstration by Chef Dan who taught us that frying isn’t all bad, its just a matter of what your frying in what oil.

Though known globally for mouth watering burgers such as the “Big and Tasty” and crowd pleasers the “Big Mac”  the chain is working on a campaign to highlight its more health conscious chicken options such as the premium grilled chicken sandwich and classic McNuggets. How does one improve on the perfection that is a crispy Chicken nugget? You add new dipping sauces of course! For years fans of the tasty morsels were available with only 3 distinct sauce options: Barbecue, Honey Mustard and my personal favorite Sweet and Sour. The chain has added several new sauces to the menu, “We added the new flavors in an effort to contemporize the brand with relevant options” says Category Director Elizabeth Campbell.  We caught up with the busy executive at the event and snagged a few moments to gab about the changes. The new dipping sauces include, Sweet Chilli, Hot Mustard, Creamy Ranch and Chipotle Barbecue.  As a category director Campbell is in charge of all things chicken and salad.  In addition to her new sauces she’s also responsible for the relaunch of the Asian Chicken Salad. “We received so many letters and requests we simply had to bring back the Asian Chicken Salad” gushed Campbell.  The salad which features grilled chicken and sesame dressing will be re introduced for a limited time as part of the Made For You campaign.

Chef Dan Coudreaut

In addition to the focus on salads and chicken McDonald’s also has its sights on beverages and sides. Adding to its bevy of refreshments are a smooth and creamy Pineapple Mango Smoothie. Made with fresh fruit this item is perfect for the spring summer and a delicious addition to the health conscious lineup.  Though often criticized for its caloric content McDonald’s makes amend by giving diners a choice.  Though we would all like to eat whatever we want and not worry about the consequences the fact is that is simply impossible.  What is possible is balance. By offering salads, fresh fruit options and lean meats the Iconic Corporation hopes to strike the right balance in healthy, tasty and affordable. It all boils down to choice and just as one can choose to enjoy a “Big Mac”  you can also choose to have a side salad and diet soft drink instead of fries and milk shake. McDonald’s healthier fare is a valiant attempt to keep the masses happy and (hopefully) slightly less massive.