Vol. 2, Issue 11, March 16, 2004
McDonald's Seeks to Improve Image by Frying Healthier Things
McDonald's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Cantalupo provided an update on the company's revitalization momentum and positive business trends during an investor presentation/webcast in New York City today, and noted mixed results in its effort to improve itself.
Cantalupo said, "Last year, we laid out a comprehensive revitalization plan designed to get McDonald's business back on track. We've tried a lot of things, and we're going to keep trying new things until something sticks."
McDonald's has faced mounting criticism of the nutritional content of its menus and has been striving for months to bolster its image and counter sagging sales. Recent steps such as phasing out its "super-sized" portions have done little to combat the negative publicity from such PR fiascos as the independent film Super Size Me, which documents the devastating effects on a filmmaker of eating nothing but McDonald's food for a month.
"That film was completely biased," said a fuming Cantalupo. "We have evidence that the significant weight gain and other health problems experienced by this so-called filmmaker were in fact caused by Burger King products eaten off-camera."
Cantalupo added that a new line of products would be sure to cement McDonald's as a leading purveyor of foods compatible with a healthy lifestyle.
"Our new Salad McNuggets are going to be the biggest thing since sliced bread," Cantalupo announced as he handed out samples to the media. Salad McNuggets are apparently made of fresh lettuce leaves, breaded and deep-fried much like a Chicken McNugget. The large, flat breaded wedges are served in a basket with nine ounces of buttermilk ranch dressing. Caloric information was "not available yet," but coming soon.
"We're also testing Cucumber McNuggets, Tomato McNuggets, and an improved Filet o'Fish with 50% more actual fish," he said proudly.
Nutritionists were not amused.
"A Salad McNugget meal has enough calories to feed a family of four," said nutritional scientist Maury Frankovich. "Plus it doesn't even taste good. One has to wonder at how much their executive chefs are getting paid."
Consumers continue to rate McDonald's food as the worst of all fast-food chains in the country.
"Come on," said Cantalupo. "If you remember that tomatoes are technically a fruit, cheeseburgers contain all the food groups. It's your one-stop ticket to a healthy lifestyle."
"It's a one-stop ticket somewhere," said Frankovich.