McDonald's CEO Calls Customers Who Want Calories On Menu Boards "CAVE People"

If you’d like fast food and chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards, Jim Skinner, the CEO of McDonald’s thinks you’re a “naysayer” and a “CAVE person,” — meaning Citizens Against Virtually Everything, says theChicago Tribune.

Skinner called such regulatory activists “professional naysayers” and “CAVE people — Citizens Against Virtually Everything.”

Why so hostile, Jim? Worried that people will start ordering medium drinks?

McDonald’s chief: Menu calorie rules are ‘flawed’ [Chicago Tribune via WSJ Health Blog]
(Photo: *nomad* )

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  1. chrispiss says:

    Jim,

    No matter how high up the executive food chain, when people ask what you do, you still work at McDonald’s.

  2. MadameX says:

    I dunno if I disagree with him, really. The information is out there if you really want to find it. The bottom line is, fast food was never intended to be healthy or low cal. If you’re worried about it, ask for a Nutrition Guide at the restaurant or look it up online.

  3. juiceboxonfire says:

    Yeah, we are horrible people who are against morbid obesity, transfats and corporate deception. We’re also the horrible people who are against killing puppies and wearing shoes in the bouncy castle at the county fair.

  4. FLConsumer says:

    He should be fortunate that they’re not demanding that the ingredients be posted on menus or available. “100% horse meat” would really look good up on that menu.

  5. FLConsumer says:

    @MadameX: I’d have no problem with them providing the nutrition guides as a substitute, as long as they kept them right up front where you could grab one and they kept them in-stock.

  6. Meg Marco says:

    @juiceboxonfire: I wear cleats in the bouncy castle.

  7. Phreggs says:

    Hell, a lot of people are put at ease when they can at least see the information in more readily available areas. Some McDonalds simply refuse to provide any nutritional information. So to ask that it be posted on the menus isnt that bad of an idea.

    I personally dont really care whats in the damned hamburger health wise. I know its unhealthy, I know its packed full of calories and crap. I know if im really concerned about it then I can find the information online.

  8. fluiddruid says:

    I like to go to McDonalds on occasion. This would save me the bother of checking online before ordering new menu items. What a horrible person I am – trying to mind my own health!

  9. Phreggs says:

    @FLConsumer:
    That is something McDonalds will never do :P
    A lot of them around here cant even manage to keep their fronts clean and stocked. Adding one more item to that list will only make it worse.

  10. FilthyHarry says:

    Actually if you wanted to have an impact, instead of calories, show how many people been fucked over and screwed over from the beginning to the end of the chain from the store back to the original ingredients.

  11. ironchef says:

    a fricking brochure, poster near the lobby is FINE.
    The menu board is just overboard you know.

    Geez!

  12. graymulligan says:

    I guess the question is…why? Is there actually a person going into McDonald’s that would see the calorie content on the menu, and have it make them make a different choice?

    If you’re in McDonalds, you’re not trying to eat healthy.

    Quit whining.

  13. homerjay says:

    Although I agree that this guy is kind of a dick for having an attitude like that, I kinda like that term. It describes a LOT of activist-types.

  14. Mills says:

    This whole posting of nutritional information is great, but it makes a pretty big assumption: that Americans know how many calories they should consume daily.

    In my experience, the only people who know how many calories they need to consumer and keep track are already doing things to avoid fast food–at least this will help them.

  15. B says:

    @Meg Marco: Soccer, track or golf?

  16. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I think that nutrition info. should be printed directly on the containers. There should be a law that applies only to fast food places.

  17. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    Actually I’ve found that seeing the nutrition information right on the menu board is very very helpful. I used to get those muffins from Starbuck’s until I realized they’re 700 calories each. I’m all for it.

  18. B says:

    @graymulligan: I’m so sick of this excuse. More information is always a good thing. I generally try to eat healthy, but occasionally I like to get fast food, and when I do, it would be nice to know the nutritional information of the choices I have.

  19. mantari says:

    Calorie And Vitamin Enquirers?

  20. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’m more interested in WHAT is in food rather than calories.If it’s a soy burger don’t say hamburger.I don’t know.If your dietary requirments are that special you already need more than calorie counts.And if your that interested in your diet you should already have a working knowledge of calories for stuff like french FRIEs or FRIED food.

    I say let the market decide but for these nanny staters who make certain foods and/or establishments ‘evil’ .If you want to play nanny stater force the schools to EDUCATE kids on things like diets or give parents literature on diets.

    Anecdotal but I have frequently lived off of fast food and stuff like the dollar menu.Your body needs fat.Too many calories or FAT in YOUR body is a SYMPTOM of something else like lack of exercise or ABUSE/over-eating of these foods.

  21. linbey says:

    Like MadameX said, the information is out there if you want it. Id rather they not jack up the price of the food to recoup the billions that they would have to spend to have new menu boards made for every McDonalds in the country. If ANYONE goes to McDonalds and doesnt know the food isnt good for you, then they have much more serious problems. Every McDonalds I have been to has brochures you can grab that has nutritional info in it if you really want it. I agree with the CEO as the people that constantly whine about this are the type of people who dont just want to eat healthy, they want to try and force everyone else to also live their lifestyle.

  22. linbey says:

    @B:

    But that information should be VOLUNTARY. Not mandated with the government. If McDonalds is losing money because people dont eat there then they may add the information to the menu. If you dont like the fact that they dont post calorie information then DONT eat there.

  23. nyaz says:

    @MadameX: Actually if you havn’t eaten at McDonald’s recently it gives you all the nutrition facts(not the ingredients) at least int he great(sarcasm) state of Florida. But I guess by the time you get your food I suppose it’s to late.

  24. spinachdip says:

    @linbey: I’m tired of the “Fast foods is supposed to be unhealthy! Waaaah!” argument.

    It’s not that difficult nor unreasonably expensive to make fast food less unhealthy, if not necessarily good for you. Plus, there isn’t a major fast food chain that doesn’t serve some sort of salad – that is a direct result of consumers who want lower-calorie fast food.

    Plus, the “leave the fatties alone!” argument doesn’t work either. When you’re unhealthy, other people pay, whether it’s through increased health care costs or diminished productivity from time missed from work.

  25. parad0x360 says:

    As silly and unhealthy as this may sound…I stopped eating at McDonalds when they stopped using Trans Fat in their fries. I would eat there every once and a while but now their fries just arent as good so there is no longer a point in eating there. I make better burgers at home, I just wanted their fries.

  26. bdgbill says:

    I agree with him to a point.

    I’m sure the people who want this information posted never eat at McDonalds. These are the people who are trying to convince everyone else not to eat there.

    You want calorie information? EVERYTHING at McDonalds has a lot. Is there anyone who does not know this??

    I manage to eat at McDonalds 3-4 times a week without being obese. All things in moderation.

  27. Corydon says:

    The people who routinely eat at McDonalds don’t really care how many calories they’re going through or the nutritional content of the food they’re eating.

    You could total up the calorie counts on the super-sized Big Mac value meal, print it out and make them sign the paper and they still wouldn’t care.

    Everyone already knows McDonald’s is unhealthy.

  28. Empire says:

    @bdgbill: Many people order chicken because they believe it is a healthier alternative. McDonald’s Chicken Selects is the highest-calorie item on the menu. This is counterintuitive to a lot of people, and seems like information people would like to have.

    And to all the free-marketers out there: the “just shop somewhere else” argument only works if there is no collusion among competitors. In the restaurant industry, there is collusion among its members to keep nutrition information off of menus.

  29. WhiteTrashLegend says:

    @chrispiss:

    That has to be one of the funniest comments I’ve read on Consumerist! Of course I’d work there too if I got paid millions.

  30. Most people know by now that mcdonald’s isn’t a very healthy place to eat if you’re watching your calories and fat intake. But SOMEhow the health-watchers want them to put the calories on the menu, knowing their food isn’t healthy.

  31. mythago says:

    Really, really not getting the people posting here in favor of LESS information for the consumer. You’re mad that people want information about a product while they’re actually in the store to purchase it? You think the only appropriate way to get information is online? Sorry, this is Consumerist, not the ‘Why Customers Exist To Give Us Money’ board at Forbes or Business Week.

    Restaurant used to have “ladies’ menus” so that a woman being taken out on a date wouldn’t know how much her date paid for her meal. Maybe we need “cranky corporate shill posters” menus so people who go to McDonald’s and don’t want to know the salt content of a Big Mac will be satisfied.

  32. MitchV says:

    OH MY GOD!!!!! IF ONLY THE INFORMATION HAD BEEN READILY AVAILABLE ON THE MENU BOARD I WOULDN’T BE SO FAT!!!

    I WAS SCREWED – I ASSUMED THAT FRENCH FRIED POTATOES AND MEAT SMOTHERED WITH CHEESE CONSTITUTED A BALANCED DIET!!!

    Are pickles a vegetable?

    Get a grip people. If you are so stupid you need McDonald’s to post information on a menu board to know the food is bad unhealthy, you need supervision.

  33. Noris says:

    @chrispiss: And no matter the fact that he works at McDonalds, he can still afford to buy your entire extended family and ship them to a desolated island in the world.

  34. bdgbill says:

    @MitchV:

    Yeah! What Mitch said!

    Get over it fatties! You’re not victims, you’re pigs.

  35. Lambasted says:

    @MitchV: Exactly!!

    Is there anyone who doesn’t know fast food is high in fat and calories? If you are that diet conscious that you need to know exactly how much grease, sugar and lard you are consuming, I dare say you shouldn’t be going to McD’s in the first place.

  36. witeowl says:

    Yes, we all know fast food is bad for us; we all know it’s unhealthy. But do we know HOW unhealthy? As a lifelong dieter, I figured I had a fair grip on most caloric counts/esimations. I was floored when I realized that the BK Tendercrisp chicken sandwich has 780 Calories, with 387 Cal coming from fat. (For perspective, the whopper “only” has 680 Cal.)

    That said, in-stock nutritional phamplets and/or information printed on food containers would be more than adequate. I’d prefer both so that people can see before ordering and while eating. No one needs to see it on the menu bords, IMHO.

  37. joellevand says:

    What is with the nanny staters? You can’t go and find this information for yourself? Doesn’t McDonalds still provide nutrition information on request? When I was in high school, they used to — hence why I haven’t eaten there in 10 years.

    Better yet, vote with your dollars and don’t shop any where that you don’t like. Period.

  38. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @spinachdip: Ahh, I was hoping someone would mention the salad.

    I’ll admit, the salad is healthy….. if you don’t eat the cheese and you use only 1/2 of the dressing (if it isn’t Light or ‘lite’). Go online to the fast food menus and see how much calories (and SODIUM) are in the dressing in a packet…

    Oh, and FWIW, I’m VEGETARIAN and even I can’t justify paying $4+ for a bunch of cold lettuce, half cut tomatoes, and itty bitty croutons especially if I eat less than half the dressing.

  39. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @ConsumerAdvocacy1010: To be honest though, virtually all salad dressing ain’t healthy for you. So it is not fair to pick on fast food salad dressing….

  40. mythago says:

    Yes, how nanny-state of anyone to want a company to provide information at point of sale so that consumers can make an informed choice. How stupid for someone to buy fast food, since we know that there are only two kinds of food: unhealthy, which you should never ever eat, and healthy. There is no reason to learn anything more about food.

  41. I eat at McD’s.

    My decision process….

    1) How hungry am I

    2) How much $ do I have in my pocket

    3) How soon will I be eating again

    4) Do I have enough $ for anything else that I need to do, buy or eat?

    Calorie content? Nutrition? Not a factor.

  42. trujunglist says:

    I dunno, if I were a CAVE person, I might be against you saying such a thing and getting away with it.
    Oh wait, you’re a douchebag! That’s the term we use for people like you, Jimbo.

  43. whuffo says:

    It’s amazing to see the comments here; when the proposal is for fast food restaurants to disclose the nutritional value of their products – I’ve got to ask: Who would benefit from keeping this information out of the public eye?

    It’s all about letting the customer make an informed purchasing decision. There’s nothing wrong with that – or at least there shouldn’t be. So why are the fast food corporations fighting so hard to keep from making this information readily available? Readily as in right there in plain sight when you’re ordering, not on a flyer that is hidden under the counter or on some website somewhere.

    If the fast food corporations are concerned about that information making their products look unhealthy – well, they could always work on making healthier foods. Then this information disclosure would be helpful to them and they could compete on something other than cute mascots or glitzy advertising.

  44. spinachdip says:

    @ConsumerAdvocacy1010: You can wipe off your GOTCHA smirk. I never said they were healthy (and I agree, fast food salads suck – it’s mostly iceburg lettuce).

    I was just pointing it out as an example of consumers demanding and getting healthier (or at least healthier looking) options from fast food restaurants. If nothing else, it debunks the canard that you can only expect unhealthy food from fast food joints – if there’s enough of a market for it, they will respond.

  45. spinachdip says:

    @spinachdip: There should be some sort of a smiley face at the end of the first sentence. I kinda come off like a dick.

  46. youbastid says:

    I do think that fast food places need to do more to show the calorie content of their food, but McDonald’s, out of all of them, is probably the best about doing so. They print the damn information right on the wrapper of EVERY item. You can’t NOT read it. (Do they do that everywhere? I’m in LA) That seems pretty damn sufficient for me.

  47. Doofio says:

    Anyone who needs to see the calorie information on a fastfood menu (especially mcdonalds) are the same type of people that need a warning on their coffee that reminds them that it is “HOT!”

    If you need a chart to convince you that fast food is bad for you, you deserve to die from eating it. It’s just like cigarettes…everyone knows they’re bad, but they choose to use them anyways.

  48. humphrmi says:

    Maybe they should use the Geico cavemen for their next advertising blitz.

  49. Manok says:

    well, I like to eat hamburger sandwiches from mcdonalds and I would like to know what the calorie contents are considering I consume many meat sandwiches a week.

  50. stuny says:

    Budweiser bottle caps should have liver cirrhosis triva questions.

    Cigarette packs should come with a free tumor.

    Your PC should have screensavers of carpal tunnel damage.

    Your Nikes should come with a note from the indentured child laborer.

    Your dog should have the image of whatever he licked before your next kiss AND your boyfriend/girlfriend probably should too.

  51. Montaigne says:

    Sounds like a fat f*ck to me!

  52. Montaigne says:

    Ill write it again. Sounds like a fat f*ck to me. Meaning , ignorant fool, put you food chart on your wrapper like all in the market.

    If you complain that people dont want to know, I give you this, I dont want to know how much I pay for your fat cows that hear out of your stores where I then have to pay monies for their then heart problems and handicapped passes where they have received cause they are so fat given their diet and have heart problems! F U F U F U . Cheers to individuals that move.

  53. uricmu says:

    McDonalds are actually very good about advertising nutritional info. Every burger has the nutritional info on the wrapper, and there is a full table on every tray-paper.

    PErsonally, I’d like the full info when I order (especially drive through).

    However, it seems that most people really don’t give a damn, or they wouldn’t be eating those three triples.

  54. @mythago: Prolly didn’t make my post clear, but I meant that McDonald’s shouldn’t have to put up a calories menu if most (if not all) of their food isn’t diet-smart.

  55. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @graymulligan: Just because I feel like eating something unhealthy doesn’t mean I feel like eating the unhealthiest food in existence. Believe it or not, there is a difference between an 800-calorie meal and a 2500-calorie meal.

  56. parrotuya says:

    I Mcthought Mcthat Mcthe Mcissue Mcwas Mcfor Mcposting Mccalorie Mcinformation, Mcnot Mcagainst Mcit. McSo Mchow Mccould Mcanyone Mcbe Mcagainst Mcvirtually Mcanything? Would you like fries with that?

  57. bravo369 says:

    i wonder if he would agree to give a calorie brochure out with each meal.

  58. Coles_Law says:

    My only problem with this is caloric information by itself isn’t incredibly useful. Last I checked, McDonald’s printed nutrition information (Calories, fat, carbs, protein, and sodium) on most boxes/wrappers. Plus, they have th pamphlet/poster in store. Seems plenty to me.

  59. dantsea says:

    @witeowl: I honestly don’t mean to be smug here, but are you seriously saying that you had no idea that a sandwich centered around a chicken patty coated in bread and boiled in fat was unhealthy?

  60. JustaConsumer says:

    With that attitude, you can only imagine just how much they care about your food. This is why I never eat there.

  61. spinachdip says:

    @Coles_Law: I was going to mention this. Chances are, a quarter-pounder probably has fewer calories than a typical Chipotle burrito, but Chipotle uses way better ingredients than McDonald’s (i.e. free range chicken, hormone-free beef). The extra calories are more than offset by the non-Big Agri ingredients.

  62. humphrmi says:

    @spinachdip: Ironically, Chipotle used to be owned by McDonalds.

  63. Joedel263 says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie:
    has anyone who’s commented actually eaten at Mcdonald’s in the last two years?? their nutrition information IS printed on the wrapper/box of every item (except soft drinks/coffee)

  64. SonicMan says:

    This is total BS. Remember the article here about the plate of Chicken Alfredo. It made a McDonalds supersize meal look like diet food.

    The Fast Foor industry is taking a hugt hit on this, but you will eat alot worse at most diners.

    They are not looking to force other places to change there menu, just fast food. Anyone else smell aganda??

  65. witeowl says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: Well said.

    @dantsea: I don’t mean to sound rude, but did you not read my post? I start right off by saying, Yes, we all know fast food is bad for us; we all know it’s unhealthy. But do we know HOW unhealthy? McDonald’s crispy chicken sandwich has “only” 550 Calories. BK’s other crispychicken sandwiches are 650 Cal and 480 Cal. How many people, honestly, knew/know that the Tendercrisp has 100 more calories than the notorious Whopper?

    No one is fooling themselves by thinking that anything at a fast food restaraunt is anywhere near healthy. But, as CumaeanSibyl pointed out, thre’s a huge difference between an unhealthy 800 Cal meal and a ridiculously unhealthy 2500 Cal “meal”. How many people know that their super/king/whatever-sized LUNCHES are closer to the latter than the former?

  66. Drywin says:

    If you are really concerned about what you are eating you probably wouldn’t be in McDonalds to start with.

    They make available their nutritional information via in store brochures, Internet, and on the packages themselves. Trying to force companies to shield ourselves, from ourselves is getting old.

    Take personal responsibility for your own welfare and stop trying to blame others from your problems. Fast food isn’t the devil, over eating and taking it to the excess is.

  67. TMurphy says:

    I like some fast food, but I only eat it ~6 times a year. We adapt to sodium content, taste-wise, so I find a lot of it too salty, while people who eat it a lot don’t notice a thing. Seems to me if they slowly weaned everyone off the salt, everything would taste fine, and people won’t be raising their blood pressure so much. Also, I would be able to taste more of their food again.
    In fact, I’m salt-sensitive enough by now I can’t eat normal potato chips- they just taste horrible to me. Anyone else notice this effect?

  68. canyonero66 says:

    It is important to remember that Mr. Skinner, like many CEOs of purely profit-driven enterprises, has nothing to gain by telling the truth, taking into account anyone’s health but his own, or considering the effects of his statements and actions on anything but revenue. Because of the position he holds, he is inherently untrustworthy.

    His job is to make McDonald’s food as cheaply as possible, and to ease its passage into the hands of the masses. Of course he is going to try to disarm any threat to this mission.

    If it was feasible to incorporate wood shavings into the burgers to increase the profit margin, then he would be expected to do it. Of course it would hurt sales if the menu said *Now With Wood Shavings! next to the picture of the burger, so he is also expected to hide that fact for as long as possible. Taking this to its conclusion, it can safely be assumed that he would use any method available to discredit someone who discovered that McDonald’s burgers were made of wood.

    “Mr. Skinner, we feel it is important that McDonald’s post the ingredients of its food on its menu, highlighting the percentage of ingredients not considered to be edible by the USDA.”

    “I would like to respond to that vile attack of a comment by pointing out that anyone who suspects that McDonald’s would serve menu items containing non-food ingredients is a filthy Commie and hates America. Millions of people feed our food to their children every day. Do you hate the children, too, sir?”

    Meanwhile, back at the plant, another 2X4 is fed into the meat grinder…

  69. echodog says:

    I live in New York CIty where it is now a law that calories be listed on menu boards. I worked at mcdonald’s in high school and haven’t eaten there since. Grade D beef and chemical laden salads don’t appeal to me. (anyone that think that a salad at McD’s is healthier should look at the calories and fat grams on the dressing)
    I have a pretty good idea of what I’m eating and about how many calories I consume every day. If I’m late getting out of the house in the morning, I will run over to Starbucks for coffee and something to eat. Nice to see that my coffee has 5 calories in it but I was shocked at how many calories were in the bagels and muffins. I wasn’t even close to guessing. Once I had the knowledge I was able to make an easy decision to go to the fruit stand and get a banana.

  70. @youbastid: I agree. This is a pretty cool thing. Only one problem: you don’t get to read the wrapper until after you buy the burger.

    I’d like to think that people who go into a McDonalds know this wont’ be one of their hi-fiber, lo-cal diets. But then I realize there’s a lot of people who dont’ have the time or money to make their own meals or eat their daily 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.

    And that makes me a little sad.

  71. bravo369 says:

    i think this would be an interesting experiment if mcdonalds had a healthy sandwich sandwich meal on the menu (that tastes good) but was $9.00 but have the unhealthy, calorie fille bigmac for $5.00 and see what people order more. I wonder if people would put more stock in health or cost.

  72. fsereno says:

    Hey, Jim. I eat at McDonald’s several times a week. Given you think so highly of customers like myself, I think Wendy’s down the street gets my business for awhile. Enjoy the recession, jerk.

  73. BlackFlag55 says:

    The very people who need to understand calories are the very people who can’t and won’t. It’s like the billboards urging people not to engage in spousal abuse. The very dipsticks who do it, are the same dipsticks who will either sneer at the billboard, or agree with it and go right on doing what they do. You can’t cure stupid.

    I don’t go to McDonalds for nutrition. I drive through for a fast handful of something that will tide me over. It sure as hell ain’t a meal.

  74. geoffhazel says:

    the menu boards are hard enough to read as it is, there’s no room for calorie and nutritional information.

    McDonalds has had calorie info available for years, and it’s not hard to find if you really care for most other places.

    so this law is unnecessary and impossible to implement

  75. XianZomby says:

    I think most Americans have been to McDonalds before and are very aware of the unflattering truths about the health value of McDonalds food. So you’ve already made your choice to be unhealthy by walking through the front door. The time to school up on nutritional value is not while you’re staring at the menu board. McDonalds makes this information available on paper and on the internet. It’s also on the food packaging itself. So after one visit, you should already know whether you’re going to eat there again.

    The idea of forcing them to put that stuff on the menu board is to guilt people into eating less by rubbing their noses in the fat content. That’s not my idea of good business. It’d be like if hookers tattooed “this could destroy your marriage” on their hoo-has. By the time you’re in a position to read that, you’ve already made your choice.

  76. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    Picking up the pamphlet on the side of the counter, or reading the chart on the wall near where the employees walk behind the counter seem like enough to me. It’s so easy, even a CAVEman can do it! :p

    I don’t eat at McDonalds because the food sucks and the service normally is the same. It has nothing to do with calories or transfats.

  77. Consumer007 says:

    We really need Morgan Spurlock to weigh in on this! :)

  78. Consumer007 says:

    @FrankGrimesJr: Agreed Frank, it’s all about the timing. Although, it wouldn’t take that much money or effort to have brochures with the information freely available instead of big billboards (oh come on, don’t tell me they don’t have enough money to mass produce brochures – look at how much paper trash McDonald’s puts into landfills every year.

  79. Cliff_Donner says:

    In other news, McDonald’s CEO calls your Mom a BITCH.

  80. Consumer007 says:

    Finally, nice to know Jim the CEO jackass wants all of us to die from his fattening cancer food.

  81. nonzenze says:

    “I like to go to McDonalds on occasion. This would save me the bother of checking online before ordering new menu items. What a horrible person I am – trying to mind my own health!” You know they have the nutritional information posted on a wall AND in convenient brochure format.

    Geez, it’s not like everyone doesn’t already know that MCD’s is terrible for you. Why you got to rub it in people’s face?

  82. nonzenze says:

    “Some McDonalds simply refuse to provide any nutritional information.” OK, that’s not cool. All the MCD’s I’ve been in have had the nutritional information poster and brochure.

    I think that having the information readily available is sufficient — putting it on the menu is just mean spirited.

  83. FLConsumer says:

    @bdgbill: Actually, compared to most of the chain food hell restaurants (Friday’s/Chili’s/Carrabas/Outback/Ruby Tuesday’s/Benningans, et. al), McDonald’s meals may not be the healthiest in terms of ingredients, but when it comes to calories & fat, McDonald’s has the least. McDonald’s calories don’t worry me, but the preservatives and additives (frankenfood) do.

    For example:
    Ruby Tuesday: Chicken & Broccoli Pasta – 1682 cal, 93 fat grams

    McDonald’s: Big Mac — 540 calories, 29 fat grams.

    So it’d take 3 Big Macs (1620cal, 87 fat grams) to come close in terms of cals & fat grams… and it’s still slightly less than what people would normally perceive as the “healthier” meal.

  84. chrylis says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: While the idea of printing nutritional information on the containers may have merit, exactly why do you think it’s appropriate or even helpful to single out “fast food” restaurants–and what is “fast food” anyway? (“I know it when I see it” is good enough for everyday usage, but it’s funny how laws always apply to other people.)

  85. MelL says:

    @nonzenze: A company should have zero issues with giving information to their customers as to how their product will affect them if they, the business, have any faith in their product.

  86. jamar0303 says:

    Er, here in China McDonalds (and KFC) puts nutritional information on the food packaging. Why not do that?

  87. MelL says:

    @jamar0303: Maybe due to the logistics? They would have to have specific boxes for their items, and even grouping several items that are similar enough into a group of lists on a box might be pretty burdensome. Just a quick idea. :)

  88. Greeper says:

    dude’s gotta point

  89. This guy is right. People will find something to complain about all the time. It isn’t like McD’s is hiding the calorie content of their food. Infact, it is common knowlage that fast food is horrible for you. If McD’s put the calorie content up I’m sure other people would complain because they can’t enjoy their food knowing how bad it is now.

  90. MissPeacock says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: McDonald’s actually already prints nutritional information directly on its containers. I can’t think of another fast food place that does that.

  91. bravo369 says:

    i just looked up mcdonalds nutritional facts. sure we all know it’s unhealthy but i was surprised to see the crispy chicken sandwiches had more calories than a bigmac or the quarter pounder. If usually get some kind of chicken sandwich. if the calorie info was on the menu, i probably would have gone with a quarter pounder over the chicken sandwich.

  92. Mr_D says:

    So does this guy offer any cogent arguments against it, or does he just resort to ad-homs?

    While I agree it would be expensive and of dubious value on the menu, having a sign board and printing it on the packaging seems to be a good compromise. (I realize McDonalds already has the sign board, but it’s not always in a great place).

  93. BigElectricCat says:

    @joellevand: “What is with the nanny staters?”

    What’s with the assholes who apparently think that anything McDonald’s put in their food is okay, so long as someone buys it? What sort of fucked-up the-market-has-spoken bullshit is that?

    @joellevand: “You can’t go and find this information for yourself?”

    McDonald’s can’t do the right thing and post it for everyone? A corporation that was run in an ethical manner would find a way to post the information AND turn it into a selling point. Of course, if McDonald’s has reasons to not want people to know what’s in their food, then I completely understand, because the “nanny-staters” argument has just been made for them.

    @joellevand: “Doesn’t McDonalds still provide nutrition information on request?”

    They don’t appear to update it in a timely manner. Go order the newest thing on the menu and simultaneously ask for their latest nutrition brochure. Is the new menu item on there? In my experience, no. Those things are usually months out of date.

    @joellevand: “When I was in high school, they used to — hence why I haven’t eaten there in 10 years.”

    I don’t eat there very much, either.

    @joellevand: “Better yet, vote with your dollars and don’t shop any where that you don’t like. Period.”

    I do. However, I need not stop at that. That’s what’s beautiful about America.

  94. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @spinachdip: It’s all good. :P

  95. BigElectricCat says:

    @Drywin: “Trying to force companies to shield ourselves, from ourselves is getting old.

    Take personal responsibility for your own welfare and stop trying to blame others from your problems.”

    Clearly you do not recognize that one is the concomitant of the other. Getting fast food restaurants to provide this information is part of the means of taking personal responsibility for their own welfare.

    I bet you kick people’s crutches and then laugh when they fall to the ground.

  96. fluiddruid says:

    @u1itn0w2day: @u1itn0w2day: “And if your that interested in your diet you should already have a working knowledge of calories for stuff like french FRIEs or FRIED food.”

    McDonalds has heavily marketed healthier items like salads and yogurt. I’d sure like to know before ordering if it’s a 2,000 calorie salad – they’ve served, in the past, salads that were worse for you than Big Macs!

  97. IrisMR says:

    I… pretty much agree with the CEO. It’s true.

    And geeze we know that McD is full of calories. Get over it. If you don’t want calories, eat lettuce at home.

  98. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @FLConsumer: True.

    I guess the point is you need to be mindful of everything you eat.

  99. Starfury says:

    I still want to know how they make a profit on a double cheeseburger for $1.

  100. Meh, I think having this information is actually a good thing. Most people know that McDonald’s is not healthy, but lots of kids, for example, do not. Of course it is up to their parents to educate them, but it doesn’t hurt to have the info readily available for these sorts of people, the uneducated and so on. I could have told you the calorie counts of most of the things at Starbucks because I like to bake, but a friend of mine was shocked by the numbers on the pastries. She kept saying “what’re they using? Whole milk? Butter?”. She’s an educated young woman about to start her senior year at our top tier university but it never really occurred to her because our food culture is so screwed up and there is such a disconnect between where food comes from and what we are eating.

  101. mdoublej says:

    Please don’t list the McGriddle, I just don’t want to know!

  102. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Our local Dairy Queen has a big poster with nutritional info on a stand at the beginning of the order line. It’s interesting stuff.

  103. Coelacanth says:

    Why so hostile, Jim? Worried that people will start ordering medium drinks?

    You know, that’s not so bad… McDonald’s could just bring out the old “shrinking ray” that we’ve seen in this economic downturn. Only this time, it might mean that some people consume fewer calories and live longer – only to buy more McDonald’s stuff in the long-run.

    If I recall correctly, Supersize Me has quite a segment describing the differences between what used to be a “large” when they first opened, and now…

  104. Nighthawke says:

    Cave people eh?

    Ook, ook, this bitch.

    We’ll eat elsewhere and take our hard-earned dollars and spend them on more healthy foods.

  105. jamar0303 says:

  106. TeraGram says:

    How about this, Mr. Skinner.

    Instead of making the information readily available in printed form, you have to train all your employees to spew the information on demand and furthermore, you need to have a representative of the three most common languages of any market in the store.

    See, I know you can’t comply on that. Your company has a hard-earned reputation of hiring the absolute dumbest members of society to interface with customers. Some of your locations go so far as to ensure the clerks don’t even speak English. That’s always a pleasant surprise! Good thing I speak Spanish! (I’m wondering when the Santa Barbara stores are going to start hiring folks from Thailand or Myanmar.)

    So, really, Mr. Skinner… you have an obligation to your customers to provide factual information. The cheapest way for your company to do that is to print it out and have PDFs available for every manager to print as the need develops.

    You owe me $15K for this consultation.

  107. selectman says:

    @parad0x360: Considering that the only reason at all to use oils with trans fats is because they are cheaper and more stable (also why they are bad for you), this sounds more like the placebo effect.

  108. theblackdog says:

    @FilthyHarry: Isn’t that what they really mean by the 99 billion “served” (or billions and billions “served”) on their signs?

  109. bonzombiekitty says:

    (sorry if this is a double post)

    As for the whole “McDonalds is unhealthy by default, so therefore it’s pointless to post health information” is a silly argument.

    If I, for some reason, go to McDonalds sure, health isn’t foremost on my mind. But if I’m deciding between a big mac and a chicken sandwich, then calorie information is going to be useful additional information when making that decision. And there’s also the whole human psychology aspect of it. People may not care enough to check calorie information before hand (come on, we’re exceptionally lazy), but if it’s presented to them directly – they’re more likely to make a healthier choice.

    Put me in the column of people that doesn’t understand why it’s stupid to make simple information immediately available to the customer.

  110. td0t says:

    I think I have to side with Jim on this one. You know what you’re in for when you go to McDonald’s. Not that I eat there all that much anymore, but it’s not going to make a difference to me. I want food, I want it quickly, fast food placates me in a pinch.

    They already got rid of Supersized meals, what more do you want people?

  111. quagmire0 says:

    Sorry to be brutally honest, but anyone with half a brain knows that if they want to eat healthy, they need to stay the hell away from McDonald’s. :) You know what you’re eating. Not that I side with McD on this, because I think it is funny that they are fighting tooth and nail to not expose how crappy their food really is.

  112. smonkey says:

    Because warning labels on cigarettes have worked so well….

    It’s an cunning plan really to make fast food not fast. Just picture some high school drop out as he holds up the whole line while he tries to add up the caloric value of a double quarter pounder with cheese, a large fries and diet coke.

    It’s your body, it’s your health, it’s your responsibility. If you don’t know if something is healthy and care about such things don’t eat it!

  113. rmz says:

    @BigElectricCat: They DO already provide this information in multiple ways. Every McDonald’s I’ve ever been in has a giant poster with very detailed nutritional statistics of all of their food items, and it can usually be found on the backs of most tray liners and on the McDonald’s web site as well. Sometimes brochures on the counter as well.

    McDonald’s is doing more than enough to inform you that cheeseburgers will make you fat. Government imposition is not the answer.

  114. RidleyTJN says:

    I would request the calories only because I’m on weight watchers and it makes it easier to count. Now before people go “Well if you’re on weight watchers you shouldn’t be at Mcdonalds!” The point of Weightwatchers is eating whatever you want just controlling the portions (It works, i lost 60 lbs on it I was a fat bastard.)

    I don’t go to McDonalds at all now, ever. (Wendy’s I do on the otherhand since their point values are readily available) but if they had a calorie count so I knew what I could and couldn’t get away with, I’d be more inclined to go there for food.

  115. DeafLEGO says:

    I am on McD side on this one. Where the hell are you going to install this info on an already crowded menu board?

    Fast food were never intended for healthy meals, yet us fat fuck Americans think these places are supposed to be feeding us 7 to 10 meals a week because they are too damn lazy to cook at home. McD has change their ways to meet many of the health freaks demands yet they still whine. I haven’t enjoyed McD in years now because they no longer taste as good.

    You know, Julia Child said the best thing about McD was their fries. I bet if Julia had one of their cardboard tasting fries today, she would never have made that comment.

  116. @chrispiss: BRILLIANT. I hope somebody says that to him in response to this!

    @graymulligan: MORON. So because a company makes MOST of their food unhealthy, they shouldn’t be responsible for telling their consumers which options are more or less healthy than others? Where did you find your logic, in your pants?

    @whuffo: THAT’S IT. Thank you for saying it so I didn’t have to. This is about INFORMED CONSUMERISM, which is, I dare say, something everyone who reads this site is either in favor of or stupid for not being in favor of.

  117. Anyone else having trouble seeing the second page of comments?

  118. mythago says: