Popular restaurant chain reengineers menu to peg it to health.
Have you ever felt guilty over a plate of fries or a scrumptious burger? Does your cheat day make you hit the gym more rigorously? Do you often lose sleep over the thought of your children indulging in unhealthy fast foods? Cut yourself some slack as your favourite fast foods may have gotten a healthier makeover.
McDonald’s restaurants in west and south India have announced ‘The Good Food Story’ to reinforce their commitment towards promoting nutritive and wholesome food. The chain has been serving the Indian palate for the last 22 years and over time it has developed an indigenous menu unique to India. Dr Nilesh Amritkar, Managing Director, Envirocare Labs says, “It is indeed good to know that fast foods can be health positive. I think this is a good effort and will have a positive impact on the food industry.”
There is a range of high protein products that have paneer, chicken, egg and fish. McDonald’s is the only restaurant chain in the Quick Service Restaurant space in India that has a special breakfast menu. The Sausage & Egg McMuffin, Egg & Cheese McMuffin and Scrambled Eggs to give just the right start to the day.
“As Indians, a majority of our population is protein-deficient. In the future, more concentration could also be placed on increasing protein in all products. The steamed egg is a great value-add. Healthier choices like wraps, steamed eggs and other such options should be added to the basket of products. Lastly but most importantly, portion control is important. Also, a takeaway message is that these foods are ’sometimes’ food and should not replace every day healthy balanced meals”, said Naaznin Husein, President, Mumbai Chapter of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA)
Outside of the signature burgers and fries, the company has launched Chatpata Naan- a truly Indian delicacy with an international form. With the recent launch of rice having the goodness of bulgar, basmati rice and fresh vegetables in select markets, Amit Jatia, Vice-Chairman of Westlife Development Limited, said, “Our customers are increasingly adopting healthier lifestyles and trust brands that behave responsibly and transparently, especially when it comes to food options. Our goal has always been to build a better McDonald’s by making little changes that add up to a big difference. All modifications in ‘The Good Food Story’ have been a result of over three years of persistent re-engineering of our products just so that we could offer more wholesome and balanced food choices to our customers at a great value.”
This part of the company’s Good Food journey is what customer will be able to see in stores. But there is another path that the company has taken to ensure nothing but the best is served to its consumers. Sodium across fries, nuggets, patties and sauces has been reduced by over 20% since it has been proved that limiting sodium intake is good for health. Oil content in mayonnaise has been reduced by 40%, making it the first ever low-fat mayo in the Indian Quick Service Restaurant industry. This has brought down fat content by up to 25% in its products resulting in calorie reduction by up to 11%.
The result of these changes has been that the iconic and a common favourite McAloo Tikki Burger is now a balanced meal, in that it has the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat as recommended in the guidelines issued by the National Institution of Nutrition or NIN.
“Reducing salt and overall sodium content of the products are small yet significant steps initiated. The effort taken to re-engineer their food towards a healthy shift is a good initiative. Using technology innovations to reduce overall fat content may be a sustainable solution towards responsible nutrition”, added Naaznin Husein.
The other flagship product McVeggie Burger too, has the right balance of carbs and proteins. The patty has goodness of five vegetables. McDonald’s patties are 100% artificial preservative-free. While the patties never had artificial colour and flavour, they are now completely free of any artificial preservatives. Moreover the patties have been fortified with natural dietary fibre to make them wholesome. This also helps reduce oil absorption. The dietary fibre content in McD patties has gone up by as much as 20-25. Much to the delight of the healthy eaters, refined flour wraps have been replaced with whole grain wraps to increase their nutritional value. The beloved Soft Serve is now made of 100% milk and is 96% fat-free making both the kids and their parents happy.
Commenting on this initiative by Hardcastle Restaurants, Dr JS Pai, Executive Director, Protein Foods & Nutrition Development Association of India said, “The overall lifestyle of Indians is changing as many of them are leading a sedentary life with very little physical activity. This may cause obesity and deficiency of essential nutrients. It is a good step that restaurants are now offering food choices with better nutritional profile which are richer in protein and dietary fibre as well as lower in fat and sodium. This along with nutritional awareness will go a long way in ensuring a healthy lifestyle.”
So what are you waiting for? Go munch on those signature McDonald’s foods and yes, do it absolutely guilt free.