McDonald's faces up to European fears over food and job quality
LONDON - McDonald's is set to admit that it has not done enough to reassure the European market on issues about the nutritional value of its food and the quality of jobs it provides, in a corporate responsibility report to be published next week.
According to a report in the Financial Times, the report will admit that McDonald's has learned that "we could do better in our understanding of wider social trends and expectations".
It says that the report will quote negative and positive comments given to it in a year of interviews, including accusations that McDonald's "does not value its employees" and that "working at McDonald's doesn't look like much fun". It rejects the claims, and has been working to dispel the McJob tag with which it is saddled.
It will be the first corporate social responsibility report that the fast food chain has published with a particular focus on Europe. It is aimed at shareholders, employees and suppliers, as well as policy makers and pressure groups, many of whom are lobbying the company on issues of nutrition and the marketing of its products to children.
McDonald's has been at the forefront of a trend for fast food restaurants to transform their image from purveyors of calorie-laden junk.
While burgers and fries still make up the majority of its menu, McDonald's has been working to up the amount of fresh, low-fat food on its menu and offer healthier options, particularly in its Happy Meals, which are aimed at children. In the UK, it even launched a 'Sex and The City'-inspired ad campaign for a range of salads to woo young women in to its restaurants.
The chain had a scare in the early 2000s, when two obese teenagers in the US attempted to bring a lawsuit against McDonald's, blaming it and other fast food restaurants for their health problems. The suit was thrown out of court, but led to wide speculation that the fast food industry could face class action lawsuits similar to those against the tobacco industry.
It also faced up to negative news coverage for 2004 release of Morgan Spurlock's 'Super Size Me', a documentary showing what happened when Spurlock decided to eat only McDonald's for 30 days. The film was a global success, and saw McDonald's trying to fire fight against the film's findings.
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