Ever wondered why McDonalds’ globally renowned French fries taste like no other? Should you be worried if they add something that would not suit our culture or our diet? What do they add that makes their fries so addictive? Out of the 19 ingredients that the American food chain admits to adding in their crispy potatoes, the standout content is their ‘natural beef flavour’.
McDonald’s has never marketed their chain as vegetarian-friendly, and the meaty taste in their fries might confirm that they very well do not cater to vegan taste buds. However, the base ingredient in their beef flavour is listed as containing ‘hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed water’ as starting ingredients. This does not seem to be a euphemism and is definitely cattle-derived flavouring.
The case seems slightly different when it comes to India though. India is the first country in the world where McDonald’s does not offer any beef or pork items on its menu. It has also ‘re-engineered’ its operations to align with Indian local sentiments.
The Indian branch of the company makes their French fries from whole potatoes that are grown locally in Deesa and Kheda, and manufactured in Mehsana, in Gujarat. They are partially fried first at the factories, and then again at each individual branch. The natural sugars are then extracted, to give way to other ingredients, including 100% vegetarian RBD Palmolein oil, salt and some amount of sugar dextrose to provide the golden coat seen in restaurants.
For those still worried about animal ingredients in their food, this might bring some relief – McDonald’s has pledged to use eggs only from cage-free chickens by 2025. At least they seem to have taken a transparent line of communication with customers about what goes in their food.
By: Tarun Rao