Consumer demand for fresh, wholesome meat, vegetables and grains is causing a return to sustainable ranching and agriculture.
The move away from antibiotics, hormones and factory meat production forces practices that restore farmland and rangelands. It is coincidental, as well as an enormous bonus, that these are more profitable and environmentally sustainable.
These changes in how we produce our food have little to do with initiatives from agro-giants, universities or regulatory agencies: They are bottoms up, consumer-driven changes led by small producers.
To move this process forward we must: (1) dismantle the regulations and subsidies that give Big Food competitive advantages over small-scale farms and ranches, and, (2) enforce existing antitrust laws, originated by Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, to break up the giant companies—and not just in food production.
NOTE: This post is from an Associated Press article and appeared on SAExpressNews.com on November 29, 2016
McDonald’s said Tuesday it is expanding a test of fresh beef burgers after a trial run in Texas got a positive response.
The world’s largest burger chain’s experimentation is part of its effort to change the public’s perception of its food quality and freshness.
The fresh beef test, which had been at 55 restaurants across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, now has expanded to include 75 restaurants across northeast Oklahoma. The test of never-frozen beef only includes Quarter Pounder patties, not the smaller patties that come on hamburgers and Big Macs.
Fresh beef represents a huge opportunity for McDonald’s but also a substantial risk. It means a big change to the process of food delivery and preparation. But McDonald’s has shown willingness over the last two years to make big changes to its food to improve still sluggish foot traffic, and to draw in a younger crowd that prefers “better burger” rivals such as Shake Shack, Epic Burger or Five Guys. Wendy’s also has been ramping up marketing efforts recently behind its own fresh beef.
McDonald’s has made other changes to its food, including removing high fructose corn syrup from its buns, swapping margarine for butter on its Egg McMuffins, moving toward chicken without antibiotics, and stripping out preservatives from its chicken nuggets. It’s also changed the way its food is prepared in order to improve the taste, such as toasting buns and searing beef differently.
It’s not clear how long the fresh beef test will last before the chain will consider offering it at restaurants nationwide, or if that will happen at all.
McDonald’s always does a trial run when it makes changes to its food or adds new menu items to make sure customers respond before a national rollout. The burger chain, headquartered in suburban Chicago, tends to favor Texas to start tests involving beef because burgers make up a bigger percentage of average sales at restaurants there. It tends to focus on spots such as Atlanta for chicken, the Northeast for coffee and California for salads.