July 7th, 2011 By Jack Morton
Lets be real, Fast Food ≠ Healthy
The AMA is up in arms calling for a ban on fast food advertising towards children. Apparently, the fast food industry spent $4.2bn in 2009 to bombard kids with ads for their typical food fare. But ask any executive and they’ll point to their increasingly healthy new options on their menu. They’ll point to their ads that show their grilled chicken wraps and salads alongside the ubiquitous Big Mac.
The cynic in me says the healthy options are just optics – when was the last time a corporate behemoth did something without ulterior profit motive? And sure enough, the “healthy” Fruit and Maple oatmeal option actually has more sugar than a Snickers bar (no joke).
But, if we look deeper, there ARE healthy options that are low fat, lower calorie and better for you at almost every fast food restaurant today. It’s out there. But the reality of the situation is that consumers don’t care. They still keep ordering the artery clogging Big Macs and Fries.
It all goes back to WHY people go to McDonald’s. Two reasons –
1. They need a cheap, filling, fast meal and they can’t afford better or;
2. They don’t WANT healthy food – they went to McDONALDS. Duh.
The healthy options costs a few bucks more, which truly makes all the difference for the economic class that doesn’t have the money to spend on a less filling, more expensive, albeit healthier meal. For those who do have the extra money, if they wanted healthy food they would have gone to Panera.
The consumer drives the product offering. Period. Yes, there’s a consumer for Fast Casual like Panera and Chipotle. But, until the core consumer stops buying it, McDonalds will keep true to their brand and continue to offer what people really want from their restaurant.
Energy dense, calorie laden (filling), dollar menu (cheap), greasy and fatty, (delicious) French Fries.