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Home / Articles / Views / The Highroad /  The agonizingly slow pace of a fast food giant
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Thursday, October 10,2013

The agonizingly slow pace of a fast food giant

By Jim Hightower

The appeal of fast food chains has not been their food (mostly fat, salty, sugary, empty-calorie blah), but their speed.

Order, pay, and — bam! — your warmed-over burgerpizzachickentaco delight is instantly handed to you.

Yet, for a mega-chain based on fast, McDonald’s has proven to be embarrassingly slow, leaving it with flat sales and declining appeal. The executives in charge were so stuck on peddling obesity and diabetes for fat profits that they completely missed a mass shift in today’s marketplace: The rise of health-conscious consumers. As a result, McDonald’s has been losing out to Subway, Chipotle, Panera and other chains that’ve been quick to cater to the lean-and-green customer base, particularly women and young buyers.

But look out, for here comes the McDonald’s marketing machine with a blur of ads and promotional gimmicks touting “A new global commitment to make a world of difference.” Using endearing pictures of children, the Big Mac chain now claims to be all about fresh veggies, fruit, salads, juices, milk, health and a fuzzy happiness for all.

The Golden Arches empire has even signed up Bill Clinton, to give its PR hype a sheen of sincerity. For an undisclosed splash of cash, the fast food marketer says it is now “global partners” with the Clinton Foundation to produce a healthier generation through its sales of more nutritious “Happy Meals” to the world’s kiddos.

However, the fast food giant is in no hurry to deliver on this pledge. Claiming that getting healthier foods into its supply chain is a difficult and slow process, the CEO snickered that, “We don’t go down to the grocery stores.”

Well, maybe they should. Doing it the McDonald’s way, he says, will take until 2020 to get the more nutritious stuff into all stores of the chain’s 20 largest markets.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

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