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Originally published May 13 2015

McDonald's adds kale to the menu after mocking foodies led to plummeting sales

by Jennifer Lilley

(NaturalNews) Not too long ago, McDonald's ran a commercial showing a close-up of a burger while the voiceover declared, "This is not Greek yogurt, nor will that ever be kale." The ad mocked those who enjoy a healthy lifestyle; such people were told to "avert their eyes" from the burger. "You can't get juiciness like this from soy or quinoa," the commercial continued.

Their anti-kale stance was surely an attempt to reinforce their fast food brand, holding tight to burgers, buns and cheese while many restaurant chains gravitated towards the healthy-eating lifestyle.

What a difference a few months makes.

McDonald's, after a run of less-than-desirable sales for six consecutive quarters, has engaged in a complete reversal. Suddenly, they are embracing kale almost as vehemently as they used to abhor the superfood. They have recently announced that their restaurants in California and Canada will include the dark leafy green; in California, it will be found in breakfast bowls, while in Canada, the chain is set to introduce three kinds of salads in which kale will be the main focus.

Does McDonald's stand a chance to become a "progressive burger company"?

CEO Steve Easterbrook says the decision to test the incorporation of kale in these areas is part of his goal to make McDonald's a "modern, progressive burger company."

While it should be somewhat applauded -- as any attempt to make the unhealthy healthier is always commendable -- the decision is bothersome in that their motivating factor was due to plummeting sales. Forget health; it's all about the fast food giant's profit. It is hard enough to buy into their newfound love of kale when they recently rolled out a campaign that bashed it, but now that they're finding that kale equals cash, it further reinforces that their heart really isn't in this from a health perspective.

Isn't sandwiching a few bits of kale between greasy burgers and processed cheese similar to someone ordering several slices of pizza but thinking they're making it "healthier" because they're sipping water as they eat it? Kale is indeed healthy, but adding it to something that's outrageously unhealthy doesn't make the food -- or the fast food chain it came from -- some kind of health food superstar.

However, McDonald's isn't alone in their attempt to catch the attention of health-minded people. It's no secret that other fast food restaurants and chains have also made significant changes to their menus, and many of the have managed to do so without previously angering consumers by mocking their desire to become healthier.

McDonald's one of many getting on board the health food bandwagon

For example, after pressure mostly from Vani Hari, a.k.a "The Food Babe," Subway stopped making bread using azodicarbonamide. More recently -- also due in large part to Food Babe followers who shared her eye-opening research about the chain -- Panera announced that they are in the process of removing 150 artificial preservatives from various foods, including many of their popular salad dressings.

"As soon as my Mom heard the news that Panera was removing 150 additives from their food, she called me and said, 'The fruits of your labor have paid off, I am proud of you and the Food Babe Army,'" wrote Hari on her blog. "These types of changes from major food chains are the result of the
increased awareness we have been able to gain with our movement," she writes. "Once
you know this information you can't unlearn it and that's why sharing what you find out about what's in our food with your loved ones is so valuable and changes the world."

Chipotle has also made headlines for its decision to create an entirely GMO-free menu. Even companies such as Kraft have announced plans to drop the harmful ingredients responsible for making their macaroni and cheese bright orange.

Only time will tell how successful the change of heart over kale will be for McDonald's.


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