We’ve reported extensively on some of the big changes coming to the McDonald’s menu.
The world’s largest restaurant chain has gone back to using real butter and eggs in its breakfast offerings, and will soon remove high fructose corn syrup from its bread and preservatives from its chicken nuggets.
McDonald’s proudly advertised that last point in a new commercial airing during the Rio Olympics. It depicts a boy in the 1980s and a modern-day girl, later revealed to be the boy’s future daughter, sharing “healthy” McNuggets.
While the commercial is undeniably touching, it did not sit well with at least one person.
“I was offended watching this (McDonald’s) commercial during the Olympics about the preservative-free McNuggets. I thought ‘you’ve got to be kidding,'” Ron Shaich, CEO of Panera Bread, told Business Insider. “Sure, you’ve got McNuggets that are preservative-free, but what are you dipping them in? Sauces that are filled with that stuff!”
Shaich said he believes the commercial gives customers the mistaken impression that everything on the McDonald’s menu is now free of artificial ingredients.
“What is wrong is when you (remove preservatives from) one product and you start advertising that, and you generalize or give the impression that the whole menu is that way,” he said.
McDonald’s has not announced plans to change the recipes of its sauces, including the 32-ingredient “special sauce” on its famous Big Macs.
“None of it is clean food,” Shaich said of kids meals at fast food and other chain restaurants. “It’s all full of artificial preservatives and artificial sweeteners and flavors and non-naturally occurring colors.”
He said too many meals for children are sold through “marketing gimmicks and toys” instead of the actual food, but Panera Bread offers a “kids meal promise” that adheres to a number of standards — no artificial flavors or colors, lots of choices for picky eaters, nutritious side dishes (yogurt or apples instead of fries), and an optional healthier drink (organic milk or 100% juice, never soda) for kids who don’t want water.