Since 1955, McDonald’s has been proud to serve the entire world some of its favorite food. Along the way of their successful path, the McDonald’s corporation managed not just to live history, but to create it: from drive-thru restaurants to Chicken McNuggets to college credits from Hamburger U and much more (Smith 347). This change is correlated to societies shift towards healthier lifestyles for obese America. Two-thirds of U. S. adults are overweight or obese (Adams 156). It has been a long journey for this fast food corporation, and they claim that it is just the beginning.
The McDonald’s corporation has its heart set on making more history for the benefit of the producers and consumers. McDonald’s is a restaurant business dedicated to feeding people today and tomorrow. Some people believe that McDonald’s is a primary food corporation that could be blamed for obesity related health problems but evidence has proven otherwise. They make deliberate choices concerning food quality, available menu choices, and visibility of nutrition information and educational messages on energy balance (Adams 157).
We will apply anthropological theories and terms to evaluate the effectiveness of McDonald’s evolution to become the health food leader in satisfying the nutritional needs at affordable costs for all social classes. McDonalds feeds people in every social class and is working toward this health trend to satisfy a diverse type of population: poor, wealthy, healthy, etc. Social class entails people having the same rank in a system that differentiates people from high to low. McDonald’s is a popular destination for fifty million diverse customers every day.
The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century marked a shift in production from agriculture to industrial goods, urbanization, and the factory system. Urbanizations is a key component to McDonald’s success, the convenience of their product and service makes it very appealing to the consumer. The Corporation claims to highly value that level of trust along with the feedback that they get from the unique and intimate relationships with local customers all over the world. The McDonald’s corporation realizes their responsibilities and stands roudly behind their golden arches. Today, consumers rely more on companies for positive change rather than the government because retail is not only about revenue but responsibility as well. “We do not offer ‘fast food;’ rather, we provide ‘good food fast’” (Adams 157). Through the eyes of an anthropologist, children are brought up by their parents who teach them about the norms, values and skills of their culture. The nuclear family, containing a husband, wife and kids, is the initial source of information and knowledge for children.
As McDonald’s popularity increased, more families shared meals at one of their locations and the youth of the nation began to gain a taste for McNuggets or a Big Mac. Thus, the socialization of regularly eating at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, evolved into a social norm. The food McDonald’s serves provides essential dietary nutrients and it is also cheap and tastes good. The beef is a good source of protein and iron. The salads have become a popular menu choice, and the numbers prove that they provide good sources of nutrients to their customers. Worldwide, they continue to add more choice to their menus.
People still think of McDonald’s as a “burger place,” but in many countries, they sell more chicken than beef and they sell salmon and couscous in salads in Europe. Also, they sell dinner entrees with chicken, vegetables, rice, or pasta in Australia. Today, their focus is on meals including fruits and vegetables since experts around the world agree that people should eat these more often (Smith 385). There is an intense focus on providing an increasing number of choices for Happy Meals because now people can mix and match their selections of side, beverage, entree, etc.
The customized Happy Meals optimally meets the nutritional needs and preferences for children and their parents, including protein, iron, calcium, vitamin E and B vitamins (Smith 387). McDonald’s serves safe and high quality food because consumers decide what food business’s stay and which ones are forgotten just by showing more interest in one place over another. In a sense of society as a whole, the consumers are co-producers because they are the ones who keep the business going and they dictate the type of food that should be served at these certain food places. Nature vs. urture comes into play because we are contrasting the biological verses cultural or environmental basis for behavior. Clearly, McDonald’s has made a positive impact on its costumers because the corporation is constantly growing due to the money invested into their products. Some people believe that everything sold at McDonald’s is unhealthy but they are very wrong. Some of it may be, but no one is being forced to over indulge in such products. McDonald’s serves more salads than anyone else in the world and they are the number one buyer of apples in the United Sates (Lewin 330).
Furthermore, McDonald’s serves more than 3. 7 billion servings of fruit and vegetables in just one year (Lewin 330). These numbers prove that McDonald’s is listening to society’s changing trends and evolving to the make the food more healthy and desired by anyone who wants cheap, accessible and good food. Also, they demonstrate a sense of responsibility to the environment, animal well-being and social responsibility everyday because their position within the food industry gives them the power to higher the standards of industry practices such as animal welfare and antibiotic use (Lindstrom 340).
They have a “Code of Conduct” for their suppliers to obey relative to fair labor practices, and they always monitor their compliance. The food is safe to eat in the sense of chemicals and the suppliers are clean and fair to the product that is eventually sold in the McDonald’s corporation restaurants. The beef is 100% ground beef, free of additives or fillers. The chicken is primarily white breast meat. The eggs are from laying hens. And, the salads and yogurt are from the same suppliers who provide food to grocery stores (Adams 155).
There have honest healthy alternatives at McDonald’s and they even possess the power to demand the most ecofriendly suppliers to the earth and the animals. McDonald’s constantly changes their food choices to meet customer’s desires and dietary needs. As social changes occurred, McDonald’s responded to their consumers requests and began providing more healthy alternatives. They have introduced a variety of delicious salads and chicken sandwiches, along with yogurt parfaits, and fruit salads.
This fast-food corporation is evidently altering their food so it directs towards a more healthy cliental. Another interesting fact about McDonald’s is that their menu selections are oriented to regional or local tastes so they people all over the world can enjoy their fast and efficient food (Smith 350). For example, they offer coconut water in Brazil, rice burgers in Taiwan, and porridge in the U. K which shows the dedication to their consumers individual preferences of food (Lewin 243).
Thus, making McDonald’s a universal food corporation allowing syncretism, the adaption of one cultures ideals morphed with some ideals and traditions of another culture, to go into effect. The McDonald’s corporation persistently receives advice from third- party experts about which products they should prioritize for food and nutrition. They are committed to adopting helpful recommendations for their consumers best interest and they are open to change for the greater good of the fast-food society as a whole.
McDonald’s has provided nutrition information since the early 1990’s through a variety of ways, including printed brochures and more recently through websites (Smith 240). In 2006, McDonald’s was the first major restaurant corporation to voluntarily place nutrition information on food labels, making it super easy for their customers to know exactly what they are eating and to make personal healthy food choices as well as healthy choices for their families. Today, nutrition information can be found on packaging, on tray- liners in the restaurant and on the very descriptive website for all to see (Adams 157).
They have worked very hard to provide nutrition education for children and adults through multiple options and once the information is out there, it is up to the consumer to decide what is the best choice of food for their own body. Even so, McDonald’s goes further with their assistance in the consumers awareness of what they are eating by implementing a customizable website tool, called “Bag A Meal”(Adams 154). This enables individuals to learn the nutrition content of their meals as soon as they order them, such as without the sauce on a Big Mac or the pickle on a hamburger.
The nutrition information is blatant and all over the place but the producers can only help the consumers by putting the information out there and the consumers have to decide what they should be eating since it is a free country. On the other hand, some people try to blame McDonald’s for their weight problems and health issues. The most dominant case against McDonald’s was “The McLawsuit” in 2002 (Mello 207). This litigation was brought by a group of overweight children against the McDonald’s Corporation that sought compensation for obesity-related health problems.
The initial case provoked an intense public response because it made people think about the question of where the accountability for the economic and public health consequences of obesity properly rests, with the consumer or the producer? Similar cases to the fast-food litigation were ones about smoking tobacco. Lawsuits brought against tobacco companies were viewed with the same discouraging reaction at first and indecisive legal predictions that the fast-food lawsuits also receive.
Yet, the public and legal opinion has shifted to blame the smoking industry for the health problems, which is exactly what the people who sue McDonald’s want to do (Rimm 207). “If the time comes when Ronald McDonald is viewed not as a friendly face but as a threat to children’s health, history suggests that litigation will have been both a contributor to and a product of that transition” (Studdert 214). McDonald’s attracts a lot of obese people because of the cheap and greasy food but they are choosing to eat there and not change their lifestyle for their own good health.
There is no way to directly blame McDonald’s because the consumers are the ones who are choosing to put the unhealthy alternatives into their bodies when they know plenty about nutrition to decide whether a salad or a large fries is more healthy. The producers are trying to sell any product that they can so they have the right to advertise but this does not mean that people are obligated to buy their food. That is the consumers fault for grossly indulging in all the most unhealthy choices McDonald’s has to offer.
Although it may seem that McDonald’s only cares about quantity and not quality, there is more evidence supporting the opposite. The stigma placed on the fast-food industry is falsely placed because the restaurants do exist and fast-food is available, but the consumers are the ones who abuse the products. McDonald’s has been working towards better nutritional value in their products and the corporation is very open about what their whole process of becoming successful and then evolving over time for the better of peoples health. We know we are not perfect, and we don’t have all the answers. However, we look for continuous improvement. We listen to our customers and work with the experts in science, health, and agriculture” (Adams 154). The McDonald’s corporation is not oblivious to the obesity problem but they believe that they should not get pointed a finger at and I agree. “McDonald’s has taken a seat at the table of the obesity discussion, but our role is not apologetic – it is as a partner equally dedicated to sensible, responsible, and sustainable solutions” (Adams 157).
Other fast food places have followed and now a majority of the fast-food corporations are working towards a healthier menu. Overall, people should not blame the availability of cheap food for people of all social classes to consume because it satisfies their basic dietary needs. McDonald’s is trying to be a leader of what is important to society’s health and society so they constantly work with the experts in science, health, and agriculture to advertise and produce healthier choices at their restaurants.
Instead, when people abuse nutritional information that is given to them, they should take accountability for choosing a big mac over a salad or grilled chicken sandwich. One should try changing their eating habits, not try to sue the McDonald’s corporation because they will always win. Works Cited 1. Adams, Catherine. “Reframing the Obesity Debate: McDonald’s Role May Surprise You. ” Journal of Law, Medicine ; Ethics 35. 1 (Spring2007): 154-57. Print. 2. Lewin, Alexandra, Lauren Lindstrom, and Marion Nestle. “Food Industry Promises to Address Childhood Obesity: Preliminary Evaluation. Journal of Public Health Policy 27. 4 (2006): 327-48. Print. 3. Mello, Michelle M. , Eric B. Rimm, and David M. Studdert. “The McLawsuit: The Fast-Food Industry And Legal Accountability For Obesity. ” Health Affairs 22. 6 (Nov/Dec2003): 207-16. Print. 4. Menzel, Peter, and Faith D’Aluisio. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed, 2007. Print. 5. Smith, Trenton G. “The McDonald’s Equilibrium Advertising, Empty Calories, and the Endogenous Determination of Dietary Preferences. ” Social Choice & Welfare 23. 3 (Dec2004): 383-413. Print.