Coca-Cola/ McDonald’s pledge to phase out industrially processed trans-fat

The International Food and Beverage Alliance’s (IFBA) has pledged to phase out industrially processed trans-fat from the global food supply by 2023. The commitment sets an interesting precedent with regards to how other ‘food villains’ are tackled in processed foods, says GlobalData, a  data and analytics company.

IFBA comprises 12 food and beverage powerhouses including The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s, Nestle and Unilever. The pledge comes a year after the World Health Organization (WHO) launched an initiative to provide guidance for all countries on how to remove artificial trans fats from their foods, with a view to eradicating the ingredient worldwide by 2023.

WHO has singled out industrially-produced trans fats as the cause of over 500,000 deaths from coronary heart disease globally each year, and its elimination from the food supply represents a simple and effective way to save lives.

While trans fats are unmistakably linked to a range of harmful outcomes, it is by far the only contributor to dietary-related health problems. As the health impacts of other ingredients such as salt, sugar and saturated fats are increasingly scrutinized, it will be interesting to see how WHO implements similar commitments and, more significantly, how the food and drink giants respond.

Katrina Diamonon, Consumer Insights Analyst at GlobalData, says: “It is far easier for brands to employ other health-promoting initiatives such as portion control, clear nutritional information and responsible marketing. However, enacting changes with regards to product ingredients and formulation is an entirely different undertaking. This trans fat pledge may represent a ‘slippery slope’ that brands will need to navigate if WHO continues to crack down on renowned food villains.”

McDonald’s introduces chocolate covered French fries to Japan

A new ‘harmonious tasting’ McChoco has been added to McDonald’s Japan’s special winter menu in an attempt to recover lost fortunes in Asia.

With the implementation of French fries smothered in chocolate sauce, the Japanese unit is hoping the McChoco will counteract a slew of bad news about its performance in the world’s third-biggest economy.

As Japanese sales have been hit by a series of food scandals and supply issues, McDonald’s has reported a 5.7 per cent rise in the US within the last three months of 2015, in addition to plans to open another 60 stores in Russia this year.

In late 2014, the firm was forced to restrict sales of fries after industrial action at US ports affected shipments of thousands of tonnes of the chain’s staple accompaniment to a burger to Japan.

According to a McDonald’s press release, the sweet-and-salty fries come with two types of chocolate sauce –milk and white.

“Customers will find McChoco Potatoes enjoyable for different occasions, as it also makes for a great dessert. The combination creates a wonderful salty and sweet harmonious taste,” the company said.

McDonald’s Japan, which operates almost 3,000 stores, reported a group net loss of ¥29 billion for the first nine months of 2015. It was expected to suffer a ¥38 billion ($318 million) net loss for the full year, with sales forecast to drop 10%. Last year, the firm said it would close about 130 stores in Japan and refurbish 2,000 others in the next four years.

The Nikkei business newspaper recently reported that the burger chain had reached out to investors about selling a part of its stake in its Japan business for 100 billion yen.