Did Anyone Notice McDonald’s Ditching Artificial Ingredients In Its Ice Cream Treats?


McDonald’s vanilla soft serve had a major overhaul last year and it seems that no one actually made a noise about it.

The Golden Arches started to phase out artificial flavors and preservatives in its vanilla ice cream fall of last year, in ongoing efforts to “clean up” its menu items toward a healthier direction. Case in point: the fast food company has already eliminated artificial preservatives from its popular Chicken McNuggets, as well as removed high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from its buns.

Free Of Artificial Colors And Preservatives

McDonald’s announced last Thursday, May 18, that it has almost phased out all artificial components from its vanilla ice cream treats in its more than 14,000 restaurants around the United States.

The chain uses its ice cream in over 60 percent of its dessert lineup.

“Last summer alone, our customers enjoyed 68 million cones at McDonald’s,” the company’s senior director of menu innovation, Darci Forrest, told CNBC, adding that they closely coordinated with their culinary team to preserve the taste their customers had been accustomed to.

Complete rollout of the artificial flavor-free ice cream to all U.S. locations is almost done, Forrest said.

Revitalized Menu

McDonald’s have other plans that will shake up the ingredients of its offerings. According to it, its chocolate as well as strawberry shake syrup will be free of HFCS, while its whipped topping is now created without artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Furthermore, it seeks to replace frozen beef patties with fresh ones in all Quarter Pounder burgers served in the country by middle of 2018.

All these appear to be an elaborate plan for the Golden Arches to win back the customer visits it has lost starting 2012, which could exceed 500 million visits. They started to lay down these plans back in March, eyeing innovation, renovation of U.S. stores, digital ordering, and improved delivery.

So far, it has seen a boost from its new Big Mac variety as well as its discounted beverage offerings.

Other fast food and casual dining restaurants are quick to make the same push against artificial ingredients. Back in January, Panera announced the removal of those artificial bits from its food items, Chipotle followed in March with the same announcement covering its whole menu.

KFC, on the other hand, vowed to shun antibiotic-laced chicken by next year.

"We're constantly working to meet the changing preferences of our customers, while ensuring we deliver on the value they expect from KFC. Offering chicken raised without medically important antibiotics is the next step in that journey," said Kevin Hochman, president of the chain’s U.S. division, explaining they are collaborating with over 2,000 farms for the projected change.

KFC sells 65 million buckets of chicken every year at an average and claims that one-third of its suppliers have already moved to supplying chicken with fewer antibiotics.

Farm animals are typically given antibiotics by farmers to make sure they grow fast and free from disease. This move, however, created health concerns for consumers.

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