McDonald's moves toward simpler ingredients

by Monica Watrous
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McDonald's Artisan Grilled Chicken sandwich
The fast-food chain has removed sodium phosphates and maltodextrin from grilled chicken recipe.

OAK BROOK, Ill. — In response to consumer demand for simple ingredients, McDonald’s Corp. has revamped its recipe for grilled chicken. Launching nationwide next week, the “Artisan Grilled Chicken” filet features 100 percent real chicken breast and no artificial flavors, added colors or preservatives. The chicken is seasoned with “pantry spices” and herbs, such as parsley, salt and onion powder, and cooked in a canola and olive oil blend. Previously, the grilled chicken was prepared with liquid margarine, which included hydrogenated oils and artificial flavor.

Compared to the previous recipe, the new filet has fewer and more recognizable ingredients, which include garlic powder, lemon juice concentrate, honey, onion powder and vegetable starch. Notable changes to the recipe include the removal of sodium phosphates and maltodextrin, which, while deemed safe to eat by the Food and Drug Administration, are generally not recognizable to consumers.

The filet will debut as part of the new Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich, with lettuce, tomato and vinaigrette dressing on an artisan roll. Additionally, it will be used in all of the company’s grilled chicken sandwiches, wraps and salads.

The introduction follows a new policy McDonald’s announced in March to only source chicken raised human antibiotics. Additionally, the company said it will offer customers milk from cows that are not treated with recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST). McDonald’s said it is working with suppliers to implement the initiative within the next two years.

“Our customers want food that they feel great about eating — all the way from the farm to the restaurant — and these moves take a step toward better delivering on those expectations,” said Mike Andres, president of McDonald’s US.

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