Tag Archives: Burger King

Burger King’s Baby Step

Although their implementation is very small (hopefully due to the logistical nightmare that this entails), Burger King has made a major step in announcing their own, albeit minimal, animal welfare policies.

These policies include:

  • It has begun purchasing two percent of its eggs from producers that do not confine laying hens in battery cages. It will more than double the percentage of cage-free eggs it’s using to five percent by the end of the year.
  • It has implemented a purchasing preference for cage-free eggs. Such a preference is intended to favor producers that convert away from battery-cage confinement systems.
  • It has started purchasing 10 percent of its pork from producers that do not confine breeding pigs in gestation crates, which are too small to allow even ordinary movement. The volume of pork purchases coming from gestation crate-free producers will double to 20 percent by the end of the year.
  • It has also implemented a purchasing preference for pork from producers that do not confine breeding sows in gestation crates.
  • It has implemented a preference for producers that use controlled atmosphere killing of chickens used for meat. This has been shown to cause significantly less suffering than the conventional method of slaughter used by most of the nation’s poultry slaughterers.

It’s a nice first step, but did you notice which animal was not mentioned in the above list? That’d be the cow, which clearly accounts for a fair amount of Burger King’s business. From my perspective, it’s this segment of the animal welfare debate which is getting downplayed or ignored, even though it’s beef which is the most popular meat product in America. If Burger King (or any other fast food restaurant, come to think of it) wants to provide true actions to their words, changing the beef industry is an absolute requirement, supplier logistics be damned.

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As an aside: Is it just me, or does Burger King’s announcement seem more relevant than Wolfgang Puck’s similar one from a week ago? Odd that.

Via An Obsession with Food

Fast Food Honesty

Derrick recently pointed me to a new site called Rudd Sound Bites, the weblog of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. On the site, there was a brief post about Burger King, and their penchant for being unapologetic for the fat content in their food.

Subsequently BK has added a Triple Whopper and BK stackers, which layer burgers, cheese, bacon, and sauce. The Quad Stacker has 4 hamburgers, 4 slices of cheese, 8 strips of bacon, and sauce weighing in 1000 calories, 68 grams of fat, 30 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, and 1800 mg of sodium (78% of a day’s total).

One wonders about the corporate wisdom of this strategy. BK might do well initially, but I believe is a sitting duck in the long-term. The company is probably more vulnerable to lawsuits and will lose ground with consumers (particularly the next generation – today’s children) who are becoming more nutrition conscious. These are exactly the traps several of the big investment banks have warned companies against in reports on the obesity problem. Looks like BK might be positioning itself to go down in flames.

Dr. Kelly Brownell is the author of the post, and I’m not sure I completely agree with his assessment of the situation. It’s my belief that by trumpeting the unhealthiness of their food by Burger King (and Hardee’s for that matter, where meat is a condiment) inoculates these companies from lawsuits. It’s not as if these restaurants are promoting these foods as healthy, when in fact they seem to be getting a fair amount of press on how unhealthy these products actually are. It’s going to be difficult to successfully sue Burger King or Hardee’s when they can provide ample evidence of these “negative” publicity articles.

Of course there’s ample room for distrust of the fast food industry. Thanks in large part to McDonald’s misguided idea that they can be all things to all people, and then Kentucky Fried Chicken’s fabricated claim that fried chicken is the “cornerstone of a healthy diet“, it’s easy to be concerned about their claims to health. But this? This is a different approach to selling their products. The press release states clearly:

“We’re satisfying the serious meat lovers by leaving off the produce and letting them decide exactly how much meat and cheese they can handle.”

That’s not subterfuge, that’s an invitation. While they are not coming out and saying that their BK Stacker is unhealthy, they certainly aren’t hiding the fact that this product is all bun, burger and cheese, and lots of it. If I go in and purchase this sandwich, how is Burger King liable?

As to the larger point of Dr. Brownell’s post, whether or not this strategy is good for the company long term (lawsuits aside), we’ll have to wait and see. My bet is that they’ll still be in a battle with Wendy’s for the number two position in the Fast Food hierarchy, and they’ll still show profits.

I, for one, am glad to see fast food restaurants being unapologetic for their products. By being clear on who they are and what they sell, it makes it easier for me to decide whether or not I visit their establishments. That I choose not to is worth noting, but only if you keep in mind that I don’t really fit into their core demographics.

Technorati Tags: Food, Fast+Food, Restaurants

Signs of the Apocalypse – Pt. 1

Burger King, no longer happy with the return on product placement in the movies, is developing a film whose main character lives above one of its burger franchises.

I am speechless.

Technorati Tags: Burger+King, Movies

McDonalds and Quality

Thanks for those of you who e-mailed me the latest news in the comic opera that is McDonalds and their need to be loved by all.

Yes, putting nutritional information on their wrappers is a good thing.

Yes, McDonalds using organic coffee is an interesting choice, and hopefully indicative of other choices to come.

I’ve even noted the Golden Arches touting their quality, which is all well and good if you don’t realize that “quality” is defined by the company and not by the customers.

But none of this changes the spots on the McDonalds Leopard. They are still a fast food restaurant. All of their low selling yogurt parfaits, and their chemically treated apple slices do not change this fact.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the food at McDonalds. I don’t choose to eat it, but I also don’t raise my nose at those who do. Choices are everyone’s responsibility afterall.

What I do have a problem with is their denial of who they are. Burger King, Wendy’s and Jack in the Box don’t go out of their way to try to promote how healthy they are. Why? Well because they’re not. In fact, the most press that Burger King has gotten over the past year has come from new products that push the envelope in calories and fat.

My point is not a new one.McDonalds is a fast food restaurant. They should stop trying to pretend otherwise.

Why American Cuisine is Looked Down Upon – Pt. 1

Let me submit prosecution evidence Labeled A: The Burger King 730-calorie breakfast product that slaps two omelet eggs, a sausage patty, three strips of bacon and two slices of cheese into a bun.

So much for the “We promise to develop healthy alternatives” plan, eh?

For the record, 47g of fat is equivalent to any one of the following:

  • - 1/2 stick of butter
  • - 1 Denny’s Grand Slam Breakfast
  • - 2 McDonalds Sausage McMuffin with Eggs
  • - 3 Au Bon Pain Chocolate Croissants
  • - 4 Krispey Kreme Glazed Donuts
  • - 5 Tablespoons of Mayo
  • - 9 Hostess Twinkies
  • - 24 cups of plain oatmeal

(Thanks Newsday!)