There has always been a longstanding joke that fast food junkies don’t actually want to know what is going into the food they consume on a daily basis. Rumors that brains have been found in meat and bones have been uncovered in Happy Meals have swirled for years, but things got serious earlier this month when a picture of “pink goop” went viral. Critics linked the unsavory photo to McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) food management, charging that the mechanically separated chicken is what the chain’s McNuggets really look like before they are cooked in the oven.
After the picture went viral, McDonald’s combatted reports and ended up releasing a video in Canada that thoroughly detailed how its McNuggets are actually made. Granted, the new film isn’t completely appetite inducing, and in it, the chain still had to show how food processors shape its chicken mix into four distinct nugget shapes. However, the transformation of McDonald’s McNuggets at least begins with chicken breasts similar to those people find at the grocery store, and that’s more than anyone can say about the pink goop.
Now, McDonald’s Canada is taking it one step further and letting customers ask company representatives specific questions about how the food is made and how certain operational decisions are made. On McDonald’s website, consumers can find a list of all the questions Canadian customers asked and McDonald’s answered. Although more than a few of them are silly, they yielded answers that some of us have been dying to know.
One such question, asked by Stew U., is “Why do your Chicken McNuggets only come in four shapes?” At first it sounds irrelevant, but it is a legitimate question, one that earned this answer: ”The 4 shapes we make Chicken McNuggets in was the perfect equilibrium of dipability and fun. 3 would’ve been too few. 5 would’ve been, like, wacky. For now, our McNugget shapes are: the ‘ball,’ the ‘boot,’ the ‘bow-tie’ and the ‘bell.’ We also make them similar in size to ensure consistent cooking times for food safety.”
Well, that clears that up. A lot of the other questions revolved around the pink goop rumors and, surprisingly, what McDonald’s actually puts in its beloved Egg McMuffins. Ready for the answer? “Every Egg McMuffin sandwich is made with a freshly-cracked, Canada Grade A Large egg. To prove it, we made a video just for you. Check it out!” the fast food chain said.
McDonald’s special attention to these questions makes it clear that the company is ready to debunk any and all rumors of how its products are truly made, and the new commitment comes as the chain continues to suffer struggling sales and flattened demand in its domestic market. McDonald’s has concentrated on its Canadian operations because Canadian consumers have shown a greater interest in transparency and knowing where their food comes from, and the company also first wants to test the waters up north.
So what did McDonald’s have to say about the pink goop rumors? Luckily, many consumers asked, and the company answered. Armand said: “What are legitimately in mcnuggets is there pink goop?”
McDonald’s replied: “There’s no “pink goop” in our Chicken McNuggets, Armand. We use chicken breast and a natural proportion of chicken skin used for flavor and as a binder. But your question is so popular, you’ve inspired us to show you how they’re made. Check out this video for a behind-the-scenes look at our supplier’s facility in London, Ontario. That way, you can see for yourself exactly what’s in our Chicken McNuggets. (Legitimately.)”
McDonald’s is taking its detractors seriously, and the company is not messing around with its explanations. Thanks for speaking up, Armand.