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Customer Love and Quality Ingredients Lead the Latest Step on Our Food Journey

November 13, 2018
Burger Journey participant flipping a patty on the clamshell griddle

We understand that now more than ever, people care about their food—where it comes from, what goes into it and how it is prepared. Since 2014, McDonald’s USA has been on a food journey to build a better McDonald’s. At the heart of this journey is an incredibly collaborative team that has been and remains laser-focused on building a better McDonald’s. 

“This has been a four-year journey, and we’ve taken it very seriously,” said Cindy Goody, Senior Director of Nutrition for McDonald’s USA.  “When we’re serving 25 million people per day, which is roughly the equivalent of the U.S. population once every 13 days, we have a major social responsibility. As a result, we’ve become more customer-obsessed in the last five years about what we think and do in regard to how we serve our customers.”

On September 26, 2018, we took our food journey a step further and announced that our classic burgers have no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors and no added colors from artificial sources. Our pickle contains an artificial preservative, so skip it if you like. We chose to roll out these changes to our seven classic burgers for a self-evident reason as Goody sees it.

“We are driven to be a modern, progressive restaurant company,” she said. “At the center of that company are customers who come to us for burgers, fries and drinks. The first word is burgers – that’s what we’re known for.”

We’re known for burgers because customers love our burgers. And at every step of the journey, we’ve based our decisions first and foremost around our customers: their insights, perceptions and desires.

“Another reason we were inspired by burgers was because we talked to our customers and asked them what they considered to be the most processed part of our sandwiches,” said Goody. “They perceived the bun, the cheese and the Big Mac sauce to be the most processed part of the burgers. Other components were perceived to be less processed. In their mind, processed equated to ‘containing artificial ingredients.’ That let us know we had our work cut out for us.”

Customers also wanted to talk beef. We use 100% pure beef—no additives, preservatives or fillers—in all of our burgers, but our customers asked for a hotter, juicier patty**. That’s why earlier in 2018, we took things a step further: we announced the beef patties on our quarter-pound burgers are made with 100% fresh beef and cooked right when you order in a majority of our U.S. restaurants*, every time. The changes to our seven classic burgers that we announced in September impacted our cheese, our buns and our Big Mac® Special Sauce.

Speaking about this journey, Goody also had personal reasons to feel inspired. “As a scientist and mom of a child who is soon-to-be in second grade, this was important to me,” she said. “My daughter is a member of Gen Z, and in school they’re learning all about science and what we put into our bodies. It goes beyond carbs and calories – they’re learning about ingredients. What’s in them, where do they come from, and why are they being used?”

Goody has observed firsthand just how aware and educated the McDonald’s customers of tomorrow will be. We know the changes we’re making are important to our customers, our franchisees, our people and our planet. Ultimately, our food journey is about the love we have for our customers, their love for burgers and what the younger generations of today will want from us tomorrow.


*Available at most restaurants in contiguous US. Not available in Alaska, Hawaii, and US Territories

**Compared to prior 1/4 lb patty

Cindy Goody speaking at the Burger Journey event
Cindy Goody (right), Senior Director of Nutrition for McDonald’s USA, discusses McDonald’s cheese during an event at McDonald’s Headquarters on Sept. 26, 2018