Brands, menus and packaging. Packaging: As you can see from these two differing Big Mac packages McDonalds has had to change the appearance of its packaging in order to continue to compete with the new healthy living culture. McDonalds now puts full colour pictures of there burgers on the box, so as to give the impression that all the meat and other ingredients in the burger are genuine. By having the very pleasant picture of the burger and indeed the various vegetables used, makes the burger seem fresher and generally healthier.
It is not just the burgers that McDonald’s have applied this method to, there original red and yellow French fries boxes will now have a full colour of a peeled potato so as to try and emphasise the use of real potatoes in the fries and take the consumers attention away from the high levels of fat and salt that are used. McDonald’s now also pays a lot of attention to saying that there burgers are made from 100% beef, so as to appeal more to healthier people, and the number of health conscious people has certainly increased with the current emergence of the healthy living culture.
Another way that a fast food company has had to change its packaging due to the emergence of the healthy living culture is showing how many calories and levels of fat and salt are in there products. Subway is a relatively new fast food chain (more so in the UK) but is now actually larger globally than McDonalds. Subways healthier image combined with the emergence of a healthier living culture must surely have played a major role in its success. Subway lists all of the ingredients and calories that are in each of there different flavour sandwiches.
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This is again to try and make the newer, more health conscious person feel more comfortable about knowing exactly what it is that they’re eating. Subway has even gone to the lengths of comparing the calorie count of there meals to that of McDonald’s and Burger King. Menus: Possibly one of the biggest things that fast food chains have had to change due to the emergence of this healthy living culture is the quite simple idea of their menus. Whereas when firms like McDonalds will have started out they were just selling burgers and chips, but that will now not suffice for the modern day healthy person.
This is why you can now buy salads with your burgers, and instead of say an ice cream for your desert you can have a bag of chopped fruit, you are also able to have a healthy wrap as a posed to a full fat beef burger. Perhaps the biggest change of any of the fast food chains is the removal of the supersize option from the McDonald’s menu. The supersize option was simply the larger version of a large meal, giving you even more French fries (7 ounces) and a larger drink (42 ounces). McDonald’s removed this option from its menu in 2004 after the very public and now infamous documentary “Supersize me” by Morgan Spurlock.
The documentary consisted of Spurlock eating a McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 30 days, and if offered to take the supersize option he would have to accept it. As a result of the diet Spurlock became very ill, thus creating a lot of bad press for McDonalds as a brand. Before the emergence of the healthy living culture, the supersize option increased revenue a lot for McDonald’s as the employee would always ask the customer: “would you like to make that a supersize? ”.
So I think it is almost entirely down to the emergence of the healthy living culture and the growing concern over healthiness of certain foods that has caused McDonald’s to have to remove the supersize option from their menus. However, it may be argued that it was simply the “supersize me” documentary that caused McDonald’s to remove their supersize option from their menus and not in fact the emergence of the healthy living culture. This may be an option as Burger King, one of McDonald’s biggest rivals in the fast food industry if not it’s biggest, still has a supersize option.
So perhaps McDonald’s may not have removed the option from their menu had it not been for the documentary. Brands: The emergence of healthy living has also certainly had an impact on the branding of a lot of fast food chains, not necessarily all of them but certainly a few. As is shown in the healthy living section, the covers of magazines are littered with the so called “beautiful people” who are healthy and in good shape. Therefore if we are now in an age where most people are striving to have those kinds of bodies, but they can only get them by being nd eating healthy then fast food chains are surely going to struggle? However McDonald’s have simply changed their style of advertising and branding to help over come this problem. When McDonald’s first started in the 1940’s there original branding was a small fat chef with a hamburger for a head called “speedee”. Now this could simply not work for McDonald’s today with the emergence of the healthy living culture, as the name even suggests its just fast food, whereas now they concentrate on saying on all there boxes things such as 100% beef etc.
It wouldn’t even just be the name that would be a problem for McDonald’s branding, it would also be the appearance of the mascot, he is small, fat and has a hamburger for a head. McDonald’s now have a host of celebrity spokespersons ranging from Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest sportsman in the world in the 90’s, the epitome of a healthy person, he and Larry Bird starred in a commercial for McDonald’s in the 90’s. More recently they had an advertising campaign fronted by Justin Timberlake, a pop star who is regarded as very attractive and again a very healthy person.
So it is clear to see that the emergence of healthy living has certainly affected how McDonald’s brands itself. However, it could once again be argued that the emergence of healthy living has not really affected the branding of fast food chains because other hugely successful fast food companies such as KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Burger King have not used healthy celebrities or sportsmen to brand their products. In fact KFC still have their original mascot of Colonel Sanders, a quite chubby older man, which would not be hugely associated with being the picture of health, say compared to someone like Michael Jordan or Justin Timberlake.
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