Wednesday, January 31, 2007

McDonald's Cuts Trans-Fat

First this month it was Starbuck's (reported NPR), then Crisco (see my post here), now McDonald's is dropping trans-fat, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Competitors like KFC, Taco Bell and Wendy's already began phasing out trans-fat, which boosts bad cholesterol.

Whereas it took Starbucks two years to put together a plan for cutting trans-fat, reported NPR, McDonald's took four years. What does Starbuck's have to worry about anyway? Well, one of their cranberry-orange scones has 7g of trans-fat, about as much as a large order of McDonald's fries.

But damn, they taste good. And that's part of the reason it took McDonald's so long to figure out a phase-out plan for the ferocious fat. Let's face it, McDonald's fries are perhaps McDonald's most popular menu item. Can you blame the $22 billion dollar, 13,700 restaurant-strong company for making sure it got the new fry oil formula right? According to the Sun-Times report, McDonald's tested 18 varieties and 50 different blends of oils.

The end result? We'll have to wait and see. And though McDonald's shares closed up 30 cents on the news, it should be noted that McDonald's move from trans-fat hurt sales in Denmark. In a
podcast interview with BusinessWeek reporter Michael Arndt, who wrote this week's cover story on McDonald's, I learned that sales of McDonald's fries dropped after it switched from trans-fat, and never recovered.

But I wouldn't worry about the fast food giant. Read the BusinessWeek story, McDonald's is on the rebound after years of sagging sales.

Some interesting McDonald's facts from the BusinessWeek podcast:
  • 25 million Americans visit McDonald's every day
  • Over the course of a year, almost every American visits a McDonald's every year
  • McDonald's owns half of the hamburger market (three-times Burger King or Wendy's)
  • More chicken is sold by McDonald's than KFC
  • The double cheeseburger is the best selling menu item

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About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.