McDonald’s is providing more details of the “natural flavorings” contained in its products.  Consumers will now be able to find out the source of flavorings in McDonald’s main menu items. The changes follow the filing of a lawsuit accusing the company of misleading vegetarians about the suitability of its food. Considering the massive publicity surrounding this case, other companies will be quick to follow McDonald’s lead.

Ever wondered exactly what you are eating in a fast food restaurant? Now McDonald’s is getting one step closer to letting you know. McDonald’s US customers will now be able to find whether the “natural flavorings” in apparently vegetarian options really correspond with their dietary requirements. McDonald’s will provide details of whether the flavors come from a meat, diary or vegetable source on its website and in pamphlets distributed in its restaurants.

McDonald’s has always been operating in line with state and federal guidelines, which do not require companies to specify the source of “natural flavors”. However, this omission resulted in a lawsuit filed in May this year on behalf of angry vegetarians and Hindus who felt they had been deliberately misled by the company. Harish Bhartis, who filed the suit, is currently seeking class-action status for the charge, which represents 16 million people worldwide.

“Some of our customers have told us that current state and federal labeling standards do not give them as much information as they want to answer their dietary questions,” commented Ken Koziol, Global Quality Assurance officer at McDonald’s. “If our customers want more information about natural flavors to help them make more informed choices, then we want to help them.”

McDonald’s has already shown itself to have a major influence on the choices made by other fast-food chains. Last year, McDonald’s stopped using bio-engineered potatoes from Monsanto. Following the high profile change, other food companies also opted to steer well clear of the controversy surrounding GM food and made similar changes. In the end, Monsanto stopped selling the potato. With so much publicity surrounding this lawsuit, there is every chance that other food manufacturers will become a lot more willing to provide additional details on the source of their ingredients.

(c) 2001 Datamonitor. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent. Datamonitor shall not be liable for errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Leading Restaurant Chains in Europe

Fast Food & Home Delivery Outlets Plus