These are the kind of stories I love, essentially because they prove that I can be right from time to time. Who doesn’t like feeling validated from time to time?
At any rate, McDonald’s has been rebounding from the market decline that the company took a year or two ago. The reason?
It’s not the sudden prevalence of healthy options on their menu. In fact, it’s the opposite. From the New York Times article:
McDonald’s has attracted considerable attention in the last few years for introducing to its menu healthy food items like salads and fruit. Yet its turnaround has come not from greater sales of healthy foods but from selling more fast-food basics, like double cheeseburgers and fried chicken sandwiches, from the Dollar Menu.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Global Food industries cannot be all things to all people. McDonald’s cannot be viable option for those who eat healthy, because people who eat healthy rarely walk into fast food restaurants.
The article then goes on to mention the health concerns of fast food restaurants as well as how McDonald’s has targeted its marketing efforts on specific minorities.
The health concerns of fast food are undeniably valid, but if McDonald’s (and any fast food restaurant) would stop pretending to care about feeding healthy food to their customers, then they cease creating the untenable and nearly indefensible position of having to pretend they’re healthy while selling unhealthy foods. They make vast amounts of money selling hamburgers laden with cheese and potatoes deep fried in oil. No amount of pedometer giveaways and side salads is going to change that fact.
Instead, if they are open about their products and give the full nutritional information of their products, it puts a larger (if not nearly complete) responsibility on the customers for choosing to eat the double cheeseburgers and drinking the supersized soft drinks.
Or to put it another way, if a person has nearly 100% of the relevant information surrounding the product they buy, then they can hardly blame someone else if said product is bad for them.
However, if a company goes out of their way to provide dis-information, mis-information or hide information about the bad side of their products, they leave themselves liable for the actual information that they were trying to cover up.
The x factor here is how much does advertising affect people’s choice. That’s a topic I’ve tried to get my head around, but every time I feel I need to chase down advertising statistics, I end up smacking myself in the head repeatedly, in some sort of bizarre operant-conditioning preventative measure.