ColumnMcDonald’s does not have your best interest at heart.
I saw a video last week from a new McDonald’s advertising and marketing campaign. It irked me. No, it pissed me off. Not because the video showed some super sized glossy burger with comments like “vegetarians, foodies, and gastronauts kindly avert your eyes” and “you can’t get juiciness like this from soy or quinoa.”
I couldn’t care less that McDonald’s is coyly trying to offend me. Making fun of foodies isn’t evil in any sense of the word, even if you spat out your chia seed smoothie in disgust.
No, what pissed me off is that McDonald’s gets to continue serving up terrible food that keeps workers underpaid, continue to contribute to a host of environmental and health problems and continue to ensure that millions and millions of people keep consuming junk that’s getting worse and worse for them without having to pay any consequences.
The video in question is an attempt at reminding eaters that McDonald’s is not some pretentious, foodie haven. That the fast food chain is in some way the “people’s” restaurant. It takes a crack at what the world of good food has become: elitist.
But if there ever were a restaurant that had the good of the general people in mind, it certainly isn’t McDonald’s. While the burgers may be cheap, the company is as much out to make a profit as anyone making kale chips. It’s not out of kindness or charity that it hawks its Dollar Menu. It’s to bring in more customers to build its global empire.
How a company is allowed to continue in this way, when we know all the harm that it does to our health, is beyond me.
As one blogger wrote, “For those of us brave enough to continue watching, we’re treated to extreme close-ups of a perfectly styled burger, and I gotta hand it to them, it made me want that decidedly not vegetarian, not foodie-endorsed Big Mac.”
I mean, really? Knowing what you know, you still want that burger? If that’s the case, then McDonald’s advertising really is effective. I watch that video and feel dirty afterwards. We all should. This isn’t about real food. It’s about food products that make us sick.
Liking kale, or Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower, or whatever else the Internet determines is the food of the moment doesn’t make you pretentious. It makes you a person who eats real food.
But we also need more restaurants and people in the food world that can help do democratize real food, so that McDonald’s doesn’t keep getting away with what it does. Good food doesn’t have to be expensive, and no, it doesn’t need to be infused with anything. Want proof? Try this Real Food for the Broke, a meal plan comes out at $.95 per person per meal. And it doesn’t come with a side of diabetes or heart disease.
Let’s all get back to basics. Let’s cook more, and use more real ingredients. Let’s make sure that McDonald’s and all its nasty counterparts don’t continue to get away with all the harm that they do.
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This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’ weekly column at EcoSalon: Foodie Underground, an exploration of what’s new and different in the underground movement, and how we make the topic of good food more accessible to everyone. More musings on the topic can be found at www.foodieunderground.com.
Image: Mike Mozart