It’s the latest move by McDonald’s to step up the quality of its food as it works to stage a turnaround of its business, which has lost customers in recent years. The company has conceded that it failed to keep up with changing tastes and that it is looking at improving core menu items. Last week, it also said it is testing a version of its Big Mac that comes with bigger patties.
McDonald’s did not provide details on what exactly is different about the new McNugget recipe, but said it is “simpler” and “parents can feel good” about it. Becca Hary, a McDonald’s representative, noted that McNuggets are currently fried in oil that contains TBHQ, which is considered an artificial preservative.
The test reflects the sensitivities parents of young children in particular might have about food ingredients. McDonald’s has long marketed to families with its Happy Meals and Ronald McDonald mascot.
The McNugget test was first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business.
Last year, for instance, McDonald’s tweaked its grilled chicken recipe to remove ingredients people might not recognize. That change removed sodium phosphates, which McDonald’s said was to keep chicken moist, in favour of vegetable starch. Maltodextrin, which it said was used to increase browning, was also removed.
McDonald’s said it is getting feedback from customers with the McNugget test, and did not say when it planned to launch the new recipe nationally.
Last week, McDonald’s said sales rose 5.4 per cent at established U.S. locations during the first three months of the year. The company did not say how much of that came from an uptick in customer visits. The results were boosted at least in part by higher pricing and the shuttering of underperforming stores.
McDonald’s Corp., based in Oak Brook, Illinois, has more than 14,000 locations in the U.S.
McDonald’s shares edged up 55 cents to US$128.26 in midday trading Wednesday.
The Associated Press