McDonald's Food Has A Healthy Glow, At Least In China | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

McDonald's Food Has A Healthy Glow, At Least In China

Here in the U.S., McDonald's food is not usually considered all that healthy. But in China, it is.

That's because Chinese consumers trust American brands more than their own, says Shaun Rein, founder of China Market Research, who studies Chinese consumer behavior. Rein says that in China, McDonald's is seen as providing safe and wholesome food.

Rein talked with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about a new Chinese McDonald's ad campaign. The ad (see screen grab above) uses brightly colored vegetables and rain falling on tomatoes to reinforce McDonald's healthful image in China.

"They wanted to use nice, healthy, looking food for the Chinese consumer because the Chinese are petrified of the food supply chain," Rein says. Rein reassures us that Chinese consumers know that much of the McDonald's menu is high in fat. And there's no denying that obesity is a growing problem in the China, as it is worldwide.

But, "in a country that deals with food scandals seemingly on a daily basis, like melamine in milk, people are gravitating towards McDonald's and other Western fast food brands because they trust them as being healthy," said Rein.

So McDonald's in China is bolstering the image of its food as "wholesome, clean, hygenic food," Rein says. That's probably a pretty easy sell because of its factory-like production systems, compared to Chinese street vendors, who sometimes rely on used cooking oil from the sewers, he says.

The big burger chain is still competing to reach the prowess of Pizza Hut in China, where the atmosphere is considered nice enough to host a business meeting or go out on date night. But, Rein says, thanks to renovations in the past two years, McDonald's is on its way.

When asked how McDonald's will fare in China's slowing economy, Rein says McDonald's sales are up, but it should be worried about the encroachment of other Western brands like Dunkin' Donuts, Burger King, and Krispy Kreme who have all announced major investments in the China market.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Wounded Bull-Runner: 'If You Run Long Enough, You Get Gored'

Bill Hillmann, a writer from Chicago, contributed to the book Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona. He was gored at this year's running of the bulls in that city, but says he plans to return.
NPR

What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

We thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how the four teams in the final World Cup matches stack up in global health and development.
NPR

What Could $100 Million Buy You — Besides Campaign Ads In Kentucky?

Spending on the Kentucky Senate race might reach $100 million. So what else could that get you in the Bluegrass State? NPR's Tamara Keith finds out when she calls up some local business owners.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.