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Why the world is losing interest in McDonald's

28 October 2014, 10:05

Across the world, countries like the US, China, Japan, Russia and Australia are placing restrictions on the fast food giant due to a number of concerns that have recently arisen.

One of these reasons, according to the Business Insider, is that McDonald's is not paying enough attention to the demands of its customers.

Franchise won't go healthy

A major factor is that the franchise isn't offering clients many healthier menu options (if at all), and with the growing awareness of obesity and hypertension people want the option of healthier food.

The company has also been widely accused of using "pink slime" in their hamburgers – the result of a process where beef trimmings are treated with the chemical ammonia in order to gain more usable meat.

McDonald's in the US has since in a statement on their site denied these claims, but admitted to having used pink slime in the past, which has added to customers' distrust of their products.  

Another reason for the decline in support of the fast food chain might be the hidden ingredients in their food.

Let's have a look at some of the additives in a basic Big Mac meal:

Hidden additives

The Big Mac burger contains 18 separate additives, and while there aren't any in the McDonald's beef patties, tomatoes and lettuce, there are additives listed in many of the other ingredients in the meal, according to The Independent.

In fact, additives – chemical substances added to foods in small quantities to improve or preserve them – are present in almost everything on franchise's menu, including their grilled chicken and salads.

Four main additives, also known as E-numbers, that have been highlighted on the McDonald's menu, are sunset yellow (E110), quinoline yellow (E104), ponceau 4R (E124) and sodium benzoate (E211).

All of these in large amounts, have been said to negatively affect the concentration of kids who are already prone to hyperactivity, Business Insider reported.

Another additive found in the chicken alternative of the Big Mac meal is dimethylpolysiloxane. This chemical is also used in some non-food products like putty, chaulks, and cosmetics. 

The agent is also present in McDonald's chicken nuggets according to Mother Nature Network.

The site further reported that the additives dextrose and Sodium acid pyrophosphate are present in McDonald's fries. Sodium pyrophosphate and colour 160b, or annatto – the only natural colour as bad as artificial colours – are found in the franchise's cheese.

If the additives are not enough reason to boycott the fast food giant, the next nasty fact is enough to put customers off for life:

Chinese meat scandal

A Shanghai reporter secretly taped video footage of bad meat being processed in a factory in July 2014, by Shanghai Husi Food, a subsidiary of the US-based OSI group, as reported by Forbes online. Besides the contaminated meat that was being processed, the footage also showed workers using expired meat. 

The captured footage went viral in China and forced food regulation authorities, Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration, to investigate the claims. 

In this investigation, officials discovered that the bad meat products – mainly chicken and beef – were repackaged and relabelled with new expiry dates, and that about 3,000 containers of contaminated beef were already sold. 

Shanghai Husi Food are main suppliers of meat products to a variety of fast food chains especially McDonald’s, in several cities in China.

Russia’s food safety regulatory board ordered the temporary closure of five McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow and Stavropol in August this year, due to claims of sanitation violations.

Sales growth unusually flat

This was said to have been a direct result of the situation in China, as authorities did not wish to take any health risks with Russian McDonald's customers, following the bad meat scandal.

Forbes also reported that the fast food giant has been struggling with store sales growth which remained unusually flat, and a drop in revenue.

It is anticipated that the Chinese meat scandal and Russia's shut-downs will drastically affect the total figures for 2014, because of negative perceptions, leading to a huge decline in customer numbers.

However, even before these issues surfaced, Japanese branches of the franchise were already struggling and McDonald's Japan showed a whopping 60% year-over-year decline in net income. 

McDonald’s recently released its monthly sales report for August, showing a 3.7% decline in global comparable sales, mainly due to the Chinese food scandal. 

Keeping in mind that China and Japan together account for 10.5% of McDonald’s net revenues, it's obvious that the global franchise is suffering considerable losses.

All things considered, factors like rising competition from other major fast food chains, a decreasing customer count, unfavourable menu selections with minimum variety, and severe declines in Asia, mainly due to the China meat scandal, it's no mystery why more and more people are turning up their noses at McDonald’s. 

- Health24

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