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How the Small-but-Powerful Egg Has Changed the Way McDonald’s Customers Eat Breakfast

As part of National Egg Day on June 3, McDonald’s proudly celebrates the 45th anniversary of the iconic sandwich that revolutionized the breakfast category – the Egg McMuffin.
 
The signature sandwich is hand prepared with a freshly-cracked USDA Grade A egg paired with extra lean Canadian bacon and a slice of melty American cheese on a warm toasted English muffin with real butter. An excellent source of protein and all that for 300 calories.
 
Evolving a Classic Sandwich
 
McDonald’s Corporation introduced the Egg McMuffin nationally in 1975 after it was created by franchisee Herb Peterson in 1971. The recipe has remained nearly the same and last year the company moved from cooking eggs with liquid margarine to real butter in its restaurant kitchens. This switch led to a double digit percentage increase in Egg McMuffin sales.
 
For more than 20 years, McDonald’s has worked closely with egg supplier Cargill to ensure a steady supply of eggs for its U.S. restaurants. Cargill maintains five facilities in three U.S. states and Canada.
 
According to Cargill, a typical hen lays an egg every 24 to 26 hours, most often between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., which is about 250 to 270 eggs a year.
 
After the egg is laid, cooled and graded by weight, it leaves the farm on average 72 hours later (3 days) for distribution to McDonald’s, after undergoing the rigorous process that includes sanitizing and checking for inner and outer defects.
 
Every single egg is graded. This process ensures that eggs marked USDA Grade A, like those used in McDonald’s breakfasts, are high-quality eggs customers come to expect.
 
McDonald’s also announced last September that it will fully transition to cage-free eggs for its nearly 16,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada over the next 9 years.
 
American Egg Board

Since 2009, McDonald’s and the American Egg Board (AEB) have partnered to bring a delicious breakfast to Americans through consumer trend data, menu innovation and most recently, through support of All Day Breakfast. Additionally, McDonald’s has contributed significantly to the breakfast market and last year served more than two billion eggs in the United States.
 
“Egg farmers have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial partnership with McDonald’s – one of the world's most influential restaurant chains," said Anne L. Alonzo, President and CEO of AEB, the farmer-led organization advancing the demand and sale of eggs and came up with the “Incredible Edible Egg” advertising campaign. “AEB's been proud to help McDonald’s deliver delicious breakfasts to consumers through the egg, that continues to grow in popularity."
 
Interestingly, the Egg McMuffin’s roots run deep at AEB as one employee, who works with the McDonald’s All Day Breakfast Program, started out as a restaurant manager of his father’s McDonald’s franchise in Enola, PA.
 
“Our restaurant was one of those chosen to test-market the Egg McMuffin and the new McDonald’s Breakfast program back in 1972,” said John Howeth, senior vice president of foodservice and egg product marketing at AEB. “When a fast-food chain begins offering something new, it takes some time to gain traction. But not with the Egg McMuffin. It was an instant hit with our guests.”

The popularity of the Egg McMuffin was and continues to remain undeniable 45 years later. 
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