Fast-food giant McDonald’s has effectively alienated a fiercely loyal group of customers with a change of suppliers suddenly rendering its food inedible to allergy sufferers.
As many people with serious nut and other allergies know only too well, it can be very difficult to find uncontaminated foods – particularly when travelling.
McDonald’s has long been known as one of the safest places to eat out — particularly in certain countries were nuts form part of the staple diet or where food hygiene standards are somewhat lax — because of its consistency worldwide.
That reputation was shattered in May this year, with signs emerging in UK restaurants warning customers that their buns now contain traces of nuts.
It sparked outrage in media outlets in the UK as well as on social media, as once-loyal customers complained that they could not and would not eat at McDonald’s restaurants anymore.
Responding to requests for comment on the situation, a spokesperson for McDonald’s Australia told My Business that the situation had been resolved from its end and at no time did it affect Australia at all.
“This was from May and we confirmed at the time that this was a UK issue only and it had no impact in Australia,” the spokesperson said.
Nevertheless, customers locally and overseas are continuing to spread the news on social media and threatening to boycott McDonald’s.
“Well I will not be eating at McDonald [sic] any more,” one Facebook user said as recently as 2 August.
“Sometimes when traveling, McDonalds [sic] was the only ‘safe’ option. Just makes travel that much harder.”
The situation suggests that consumer trust in the global brand has suffered long-term damage, all because of a local supply issue.
“Nowhere is a high level of trust more important than when it comes to the provision of the food we eat,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said recently when announcing Australia’s 10 most trusted brands, in which supermarket chain ALDI took out top gong, and competitor IGA also received a mention.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.