Will McDonald’s follow United Airlines?

One of the nation’s biggest airlines recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Now I read this headline from Investor’s Business Daily: McDonald’s Expects Its First-Ever Loss As Chain Retrenches Amid Weak Sales. Another sign of the weak economy? Hardly. Maybe McDonald’s is losing money because they’re not vegetarian-friendly.

I completely stopped giving Mickey D’s my business about two years ago when I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good. Although they are fried in canola oil, the fries themselves contain “natural flavorings” as one of their ingredients.

“The company will not reveal the exact origin of the natural flavor added to its fries. In response to inquiries from Vegetarian Journal, however, McDonald’s did acknowledge that its fries derive some of their characteristic flavor from ‘an animal source.’ Beef is the probable source, although other meats cannot be ruled out. In France, for example, fries are sometimes cooked in duck fat or horse tallow.”

Maybe if McDonald’s came clean with the vegetarian community and dropped animal additives from their food, they’d find themselves with a growing market opportunity. Burger King introduced a Veggie Burger this year, and their fries have always been 100% veggie-friendly.