The fast-food giant announced Thursday that by the middle of 2018, all its quarter pounders will be served with fresh beef.
The change for Quarter Pounders, as reported by USA TODAY, means McDonald's is taking a look at how much the quality of the Quarter Pounder will improve with fresh beef patties replacing frozen beef. Changes have included the rollout of all-day breakfast in the U.S. market, moving to cage-free eggs, and removing artificial preservatives from several menu items.
John Nalivka, president of meat consultancy Sterling Marketing, said there is not yet enough information on the quantity and cost of the fresh beef McDonald's would be buying to know how that could affect the beef market or the company's margins.
McDonald's had been testing fresh beef at more than 400 restaurants in Dallas and Tulsa, Oklahoma, for about a year.
- Coming soon to McDonald's: Fresh beef.
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But offering a fresh beef patty is not an impossible feat for a fast food company chain. They point out that freezing their product is a good way of killing pathogens like E. coli, and that using fresh beef increases the risk of possible contamination.
"It's a sea change for our system", said Joe Jasper, a McDonald's franchisee in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
However, the transition to fresh beef is not going to be that smooth as it might slow down service due to major disruptions in its supply chain as well as changes in kitchen operations and equipment.
The fresh beef announcement follows a number of other initiatives by McDonald's to secure its share in a marketplace that is becoming more health conscious.
Freezy does it: The Big Macs and regular burgers will continue to use frozen patties.
Customers are also asking what McDonald's means by "most" of its U.S. restaurants.
Through that time, breakfast has sold well, and in the fall of 2015 the chain began selling those breakfast items all-day - helping lead to a year's worth of strong sales. The Quarter Pounder is a premium burger for us.