In late 2014, the Internet was set ablaze by a viral video showing what happened to seven fast-food burgers sealed in glass jars for 30 days. The different brands ended their time with varying degrees of mould, while McDonald’s took another reputational hit by looking as fresh as the day it was sealed up.
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In fact, it just added fuel to the fire of unprocessed food advocate, Karen Hanrahan: She’s been carrying around a McDonald’s cheese burger she bought in 1996 as a prop in her campaign.
Not all it appears
Though visually off-putting, the label of ‘Frankenfoods’ may be undeserving. After further investigation the reasons for the lack of mould could be explained by preservatives in the meat and buns, high salt and low moisture content (this isn’t helping is it…), and not coming into contact with spores during manufacture, packaging, storing, cooking and handling (that’s a good thing).
Capitalising on the bad press frenzy created by this experiment, and growing consumer demand for ‘cleaner’ food, a number of US brands are engaging in a great phase-out of artificial ingredients.
These include Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Panera Bread, to name some. Panera Bread has plans to ditch 150 artificial sweetners, colours, flavours and preservatives by the end of 2016. “Our ‘No-No-List’ is about removing ingredients that customers can’t pronounce,” says a spokesperson for the brand.
Taco Bell, in addition to phasing out artificial ingredients will also be calling it quits with high fructose corn syrup and palm oil.