McDonald’s fast-food industry leader status marks them as the source of all that is evil in America’s obesity epidemic. The company is one of the largest property owners in the nation, with stores in every state, city, town, and truck stop. No wonder when well meaning documenters who seek to find reasons why this country is sicker, fatter, and more scattered, we see propaganized documentaries pop up such as Super Size Me, McLibel, and Big Mac.
Well, this past week, The Root — which has an ongoing series on the state of black health named Black, Fit, & Healthy — interviewed McDonald’s Greg Watson, senior vice president of menu innovation at McDonald’s USA, who thinks McDonald’s can actually help solve the problem of — get this — the lack of healthy and nutritious products in food deserts!
That’s right, Mikey D’s thinks its menu is full of enough fruit and veggies to help folks who don’t have enough time to cook or can’t make it the grocery store eat more nutritiously.
According to Watson, McDonald’s takes its responsibility to provide consumers with what they are asking for — which is, undoubtedly, healthier options, smaller portions, and less preservatives — seriously, changing its beef product from the infamous “pink slime” to all-natural beef and changing Happy Meal options for parents concerned with their children’s plate.
Watson also understands how much black folks love sugar, so providing fruit smoothies have been great for business in minority markets:
There are a couple of items that do well for various segments. The mango-pineapple smoothies do very well with Hispanic and African-American consumers. The wild berry does extremely well with African-American consumers. So we’re excited that we can come up with these products that do well overall, but then they do extremely well with a certain segment.
But can fruit smoothies and somewhat fresh salads be the answer to what’s plaguing black folks’ rapid increase in all obesity-related illnesses? Although McDonald’s restaurants across the nation are now complying with government policies that require fast-food joints to post the calorie counts of their food to allow consumers to make a informed choice, but there is still not much transparency about where the food comes from, whether it’s a GMO product, or how the meat is raised (grass-fed or cage-free).
Either way, we’ll have to see if any of McDonald’s changes register with customers and help reduce the burden of obesity throughout minority communities, but one thing is for certain, blaming fast-food for the obesity epidemic solves nothing, and further creates obesity memes that aren’t based in the knowledge of facts.