Ronald McDonald died!

Today’s event is not from the papers, not from some newscast and not from some special operations guide. This is just me, having a few dollars in my pocket and at some point I was hungry as hell. I needed some food, desperately. So, as I was passing by McDonald’s I made the bad call to enter that place, I had passed Hungry Jacks for the simple reason that the queue looked way too long there, it was lunchtime after all. Now, Macca’s was never the cheapest of places and when we take a look at their website we see that it is all about ‘the message’, it has always been about the ‘message’, but how should we react when we see their quote: ‘Quality ingredients for quality food’. The ingredients do not mention bacon, perhaps there are no quality requirements for bacon?

When looking at their menu, the triple cheeseburgers is not even mentioned, so again, perhaps there are no quality requirements for that ‘food option’?

What brought this about? Well, as the images show, I ordered a triple cheeseburger and as I like a cheeseburger to have some bacon, I decided to add bacon to that order, added $1. Seemed a little large, but, I was hungry, so as the receipt shows, my lunch $6.50.  FoodReceipt
My lunch got served, here we have the kicker, look at the size of that….Whatever that was. Take a look, I used my middle finger, just to show how the burger is barely a finger long (honestly!) and we have to be fair and take the longest finger. So, even though it is called a triple cheeseburger with bacon, it looks like finger food, one finger squared, just one piece of finger food at $6.50.  Fingerfood

Now let’s take a look at the reality with the last part.

Take a look at that lovely bacon, a little less than $12 a Kilogram. Yes, all that bacon, whilst the piece shown in the previous picture is likely to be no more than 25 grams, so McDonald’s has a 400% margin (roughly) on bacon (likely more as they get a much better price deal then consumers do).  OinkyBacon

Now, for the most I have no issue with shops having margins, but consider that lately, we see an army of non-McDonald’s people make claims in many places (like the Huffington post) ‘Commenting in the New York Times Kyle Smith says that those opposing the idea of the McDouble’s nutritional worth, are ignoring the fact that it is great value-for-money for customers‘ (a 2013 article). Now for some cold logic, when a company offers an addition with a margin of over 400%, the idea ‘value for money‘ is something we can ignore from day one. In addition, when se see (at http://www.forbes.com/companies/mcdonalds/), stated to have a 92 billion market cap, with the ‘achievement’ #124 in Profit, we can again throw ‘value for money‘ into the wind. You see, value for money requires something to be well under 400% profitable to be allowed that title. I have nothing against Macca’s making money, for the most I never spend money there, so if others want to buy that food, than that is just fine with me. Value for money means a sizeable (or really cheap) portion. KFC with their deals lately (last month fries for $1 and this month 24 nuggets for $10), now that is actual ‘value’, not too nutritious, but still value. A burger the size of one finger squared is not good value, that is food at a higher price than the average tapas place would offer it (I consider Tapas to be actual finger food of decent quality) which is at times at least genuinely nutritious (as far as tapas can be nutritious).

You see, these ‘junk food vendors’ are now moving into another direction. Now we see a very dangerous development when papers, not just the Huffington post, where this quote came from (at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/30/mdonalds-mcdouble-cheapest-nutritious-food-in-history_n_3675128.html) state: “Junk food costs as little as $1.76 per 1,000 calories, whereas fresh veggies and the like cost more than 10 times as much, found a 2007 University of Washington survey for the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. A 2,000-calorie day of meals would, if you stuck strictly to the good-for-you stuff, cost $36.32, said the study’s lead author, Adam Drewnowski” You see, obesity and other problems tend to be caused by junk food, not by vegetables.

Professor Adam Drenowski knows this, hence it is my personal opinion that he has been misquoted in a massively unacceptable way. In his article ‘Obesity, diets, and social inequalities’ (attached at the end) we see “As incomes drop, energy-dense foods that are nutrient poor become the best way to provide daily calories at an affordable cost. By contrast, nutrient-rich foods and high-quality diets not only cost more but are consumed by more affluent groups“, in addition there is “given economic constraints, especially among lower income groups, not all consumers have the same degree of choice when it comes to purchasing healthful fresh produce, fruit, lean meats, and fish. For many, the choice was removed long ago by economic and employment policies“, which is what is at the heart of this (source: Wiley Online Library: Drewnowski, A. (2009), Obesity, diets, and social inequalities. Nutrition Reviews, 67: S36–S39. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00157.x).

You see News Corp (at http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/mcdonalds-sending-profits-to-singapore-to-dodge-497-million-in-tax-according-to-report/story-fnkgdftz-1227361248667) stated that ‘McDonald’s sending profits to Singapore to dodge $497 million in tax, according to report‘, the quote “McDonald’s uses its franchising model to generate most of its revenue through royalty payments which are then siphoned off into offshore tax subsidiaries, the majority of which it does not disclose in its annual reports” should not be a surprise, yet is McDonalds to blame? In the end business is business and if the population is unwilling to pass Maccas by, do we have a right to complain? The additional quote “McDonald’s “operates an extensive network of subsidiaries in tax havens, the majority of which it does not disclose, and is not required to disclose under SEC rules, in its annual report”“, is all about the ’emotion’ but the reality is that McDonald’s is not breaking any laws! Politicians have again and again refused to close some of these loopholes. These are acts not achieved on both sides of the political aisle, which means that none of them get to sling any mud!

Which gets us to: ““There is no excuse for governments to cut public services like health and education when they let companies like McDonald’s shift billions of dollars in taxes offshore,” Public Service International general secretary Rosa Pavanelli said in a statement“, yet Miss Pavanelli seems to skate around the issue that until GOVERNMENTS close the taxation loopholes they have, large corporations can continue their ‘business as usual’. That is the part many players have remained silent on. Australian SBS ‘the Backburner’ (Australian version of the Onion) gave us the reality in another way. They stated “International fast food chain McDonald’s has defended its poor taxation record saying that it should be exempt as it does a public good of slowly killing the population” (at http://www.sbs.com.au/comedy/article/2015/05/20/mcdonalds-ceo-we-may-not-pay-tax-least-were-killing-you). This could be truer than we bargained for, especially when we consider the paper by Professor Adam Drewnowski. Still, McDonalds has not done anything wrong, or have they? OK, they did not break any laws (at present), as far as I can tell. Yet, questions need to be asked and it is time that certain issues are dealt with. You see, as I personally see it, our time is wasted by both politicians and the press. The article from last May in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/05/mcdonalds-tax-avoidance-investigation-europe) gives us the quote “The European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday that she was examining claims, made by trade unions, that McDonald’s paid just €16m of tax on royalties worth €3.7bn between 2009 and 2013“, and only now this is investigated? In addition we see “Heidi Barker, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s, which on Monday promised to transform itself into a more modern, progressive and transparent burger company, said: “We will decline to comment on your inquiry.”“, invoking emotion against McDonald’s, yet nowhere do we see the statement: “The European Union is investigating required changes to the European tax system so that EEC governments will receive taxation due“. That part is missing in equal measure from most of the Commonwealth nations, which beckons the question ‘Who is serving who in the end?’ and why has it taken so long and so many administrations for any government to truly address it? Questions the press at large does not seem to be asking either, just hands us ‘emotional’ editorial on how evil a food place could be.

In addition, we should address one final part. It is the statement involving former CEO Jim Skinner (2004 – 2012) “However McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner defended Ronald McDonald by saying that he is an ambassador for good and “it’s all about choice”“, so if it is about choice and the choice of McDonald’s has become exploiting maximised profit (which is not a crime), can we accept that the ‘original’ Ronald McDonald is truly dead and will the next McDonald’s clown we see be spotted wearing a Gieves & Hawkes suit?

I’ll let you decide!

Drewnowski-2009-Nutrition_Reviews

 

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