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Friday, January 30, 2015

What's In YOUR Egg McMuffin?

In many ways I find it wholly interesting that McDonald's is beginning to suffer a bit recently since, during the worst days of the economy, McDonald's stock actually held up fairly well. I even owned it through much of that period and I was never dissatisfied with the performance of the stock.

In the worst economic period since The Great Depression, people flocked to McDonald's stores for their coffees, burgers, and of course for their world famous French fries.

Lately McDonald's has come under a bit of fire with people questioning what is actually IN McDonald's menu items? Is it a health trend, or is it something more? Either way, McDonald's is making efforts to inform the public about their products, their processes, and even dispel some myths about what's actually in their food. Quite suitably they have turned to Grant Imahara, one of the former stars of the popular TV series Mythbusters to do some exploring, releasing videos and giving consumers an inside look at how McDonald's food eventually makes it over the counter and into your mouth.

The latest one is about their famous Egg McMuffin, with perfectly round shaped spats of eggs that fit perfectly onto each and every Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich they serve. Truth is, ladies and gentlemen, while it turns out that their French fries contain about 19 chemicals and ingredients, their eggs are simply, well...eggs.

How do they get that round shape? Being one who has spent a little time in the kitchen, this one actually never seemed to be much of a mystery to me. Put an egg in a round form and cook it and voila! You get a perfectly round and uniform cooked egg. But many people had some different ideas about this, with some even suggesting that the eggs were actually cooked into a tube form and then sliced for the sandwiches.

I actually found this one quite comical.

I think McDonald's is doing the right thing by letting consumers know what goes into anything they eat at a McDonald's restaurant. As to the lackluster sales at McDonald's stores? Personally I do not think it has a thing to do with questions about McDonald's food, but rather it is simply a natural result of an improving economy. Remember that McDonald's did quite well during the recession. Part of that was due to its economical menu, such as the value menu items.

Any time an economy begins to show signs of improvement, one of the first things to change is where and how people decide to spend their money. In other words, people begin to treat themselves. That means people will begin to look for slightly higher end restaurants to eat at. Maybe they try a Wendy's, or even a place like a Jimmy John's. McDonald's simply happened to reap the benefits of being the go-to when consumers were feeling the pinch, and now that that pinch is easing a bit, people are simply going elsewhere.

I really think that's all there is to this.

McDonald's is not going anywhere, and quite frankly I do not see them coming even close to being unseated as one of the largest hamburger chains in the industry (although Subway takes the lead in quick serve overall). What they may be going through now is not outside of their history as a company. They have experienced little breaks in their company's performance in the past. Believe it or not there was a time when their Beanie Babies deal got them through a rough spell. After that coffee saved them. McDonald's will find their way back. It's simply what they do.

In the interim if consumers get to know a little bit more about what they eat when they visit a McDonald's restaurant, I am all for this. In fact, what I really want to know is how they make those Chicken McNuggets. If ever there was a mystery to solve, for me, it would be that one. Maybe Grant Imahara has something in the works on that one? Who knows. Either way, I think this is an interesting time to see how McDonald's reacts to consumer concerns over their food, and what new idea they will bring together to save their quick serve chain once again.



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