On another front, conspiracy theorists point to the success of “Super Size Me” at this year's Sundance Film Festival as one inspiration for the fast food giant to drop the enlarged portions. The movie's director lived on nothing but McDonald's fare for an entire month and, “packed on the pounds, watched his cholesterol soar and became depressed,” according to his website. The argument is that McDonald's is trying preemptively to assuage any criticisms resulting from the movie's wide release (expected on May 7).
Unfortunately, these theories seem to discount the simple business facts behind the decision. Supersizing has been contributing less and less to McDonald's sales over the past year. In fact, any analysis of McDonald's financial rebound demonstrates the chain's success at luring consumers with more health-oriented fare, i.e., salads, yogurts, fruit, etc. Not to preach to the choir too much, but innovation has fueled this recovery, innovation in keeping with the changing needs and wants of consumers.
However, McDonald's success and, indeed, its innovation efforts fly in the face of what has been the major food industry trend of late. Fast food adversaries have been quick to hitch a ride on the low-carb bandwagon; Burger King (Miami) and Hardee's (Rocky Mount, N.C.) both have bunless burgers, and low-carb menus can be found in various chains. McDonald's, on the other hand, has been content to steer clear of the low-carb terminology, if not the trend itself. The reason could be a simple one: why bother revamping menus to reflect a trend that may pass shortly?
Internet InformationFor more information on this issue's articles, see the Internet sites provided below.
Frozen Desserts: Heating Up?
Mintel International Group
Epicurious' definition of cheesecake
Screaming for Ice Cream
International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association
International Dairy Foods Association
Sing a Song Of Soy
Soy Information Clearinghouse
FDA website's “Soy: Health Claims for Soy Protein, Questions about Other Components”
A Culinary Journey Through North Africa
A wide variety of N. African recipes, with regional music as an accompaniment
Moroccan culture, history, recipes and more
September 2003 overview on claims that can be made for conventional foods and dietary supplements
Summary of Qualified Health Claims Permitted (generally applicable only for dietary supplements)
The New Starting Lineup
Food Protein R&D Center at Texas A&M University
Tiax LLC — Food and nutrition
Flavors Fire Up Dairy Favorites
News, company info. and more
Atlanta Journal-Constitution's take on the diet drinks industry
Oregon State Food Resource