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Any time McDonald’s introduces a new menu item, it leaves a mark in the agricultural industry.
With more than 14,000 locations in the U.S. and 26,000 restaurants worldwide, McDonald’s serves a volume that just can’t be ignored. Add to the mix that kids –mine certainly included – just absolutely love eating there, McDonald’s feeds a lot of mouths.
While not all menu items tested in select markets make it to the nationwide menu on a permanent basis, those in the poultry industry can be encouraged by two new breakfast products that are being tested in select markets.
According to a Brand Eating report, McDonald’s has been testing a chicken sausage patty product in New England, since February, and a turkey sausage product in Southern California.
There is no denying that McDonald’s move to serving all-day breakfast has been beneficial to the egg and pork industries. But to date, the broiler and turkey industries have not been directly affected.
Should those two breakfast items being tested become a part of the permanent menu, the broiler and turkey industries will get a bigger share in the competition among animal proteins. That share is apt to increase further if chicken and turkey sausage products make it into the all-day breakfast menu.
While there are plenty of options to eat chicken at McDonald’s after traditional breakfast hours are over with McNuggets, McChicken sandwiches and chicken salads, the McDonald’s website shows no menu offerings that feature turkey. And at the present time, none of the restaurant chain’s breakfast items – whether on the menu during traditional breakfast hours or on the all-day breakfast menu – feature chicken.
The outcome of the market tests for these turkey sausage and chicken sausage products could transcend McDonald’s.
After all, McDonald’s has been known to make business decisions, only to be followed by other restaurants.
In September 2015, McDonald’s announced that it would transition its entire supply of eggs in the U.S. and Canada to cage-free. Since that time, scores of restaurant chains, grocery retailers, food processors and foodservice providers have announced commitments to also phase out eggs from caged hens.
McDonald’s in March 2015 announced a new policy in animal antibiotic use, vowing to phase out the use of antibiotics used in human medicine in its broiler chicken supply in the U.S. It revealed in October 2015 it would do the same at its Canadian locations. Taco Bell, earlier this week, announced a policy that nearly mirrors the one released by McDonald’s.
We can practically be assured that other chains will continue to follow McDonald’s actions concerning cage-free eggs and antibiotic use, so the company’s decision on whether to make chicken sausage and turkey sausage a permanent menu item will be well worth watching.