Skip to content

Applauding both McDonald’s for serving oatmeal and the critics who remain skeptical…

January 8, 2011

Two days ago I posted a link on my Facebook Wall to an article from the West Hartford News with the following headline:

McDonald’s serves up whole grains, fresh fruit with new fruit & maple oatmeal in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts


Some reactions from my Facebook friends were to applaud the move while others remained skeptical and critical.  I, myself, applaud both McDonald’s and the critics who remain skeptical and here’s why:

I applaud McDonald’s for introducing oatmeal and fresh fruits to it’s menu. Being the number one fast food chain in the world and if all of their restaurants offer this new menu option, then just by virtue of that action alone they become the number one purveyor of oatmeal in the world.  That is no easy feat to accomplish and the coordinated effort to make such a major change happen is enormous and has a huge impact on agriculture and the global economy. While many people view McDonald’s focus for it’s bottom-line as a reason to distrust the company and its offerings, I view this in the opposite way.  In other words, just like any other company that operates in a free market world, we can fully rely on McDonald’s intent to do things that are only designed to make some type of profit. But profit is dictated by public demand and the fact  that McDonald’s is now offering oatmeal is an indication that it has carefully considered the demand for such a product to be significant and profitable enough to make such an offering. To make any change in the menu is like trying to turn a huge ship around mid-stream and the effort and investment required to make that course change is huge and can only be done incrementally. For someone who has been promoting the benefits of eating  grains his whole life, this is good news.

Other things that I applaud McDonald’s for is for demonstrating a flexibility to change and bow to the pressures and demands of a health conscious public.  They could have easily ignored such demands and not bothered to change at all. I am also certain, that given the many hundreds of thousands of people employed by McDonald’s that there are a significant number of them who are health conscious and striving to work to improve the menu from within the company.  I applaud them because they must have been doing this for so many years and without any recognition.

On the other hand, for health conscious people, McDonald’s represents the epitome of an evil of corporate greed run amok that preys on the less fortunate at the cost of their own health.  The film  “Super Size Me”  represented a major public relations coup in their campaign to educate the public of the dangers lurking behind the Golden Arches. For them, any effort by McDonald’s to alter its image and menu is more of the same evil not to be trusted.  They raise questions and concerns about the quality of the oatmeal and fruits and whether there is not some more insidious hidden profit motive agenda underneath. Their highly critical skepticism seems to be completely at odds against those who applaud McDonald’s new menu efforts and to some may even seem fanatical and narrow-minded.

Now, it may seem contradictory of me to also embrace and applaud their stance while at the same time applaud McDonald’s, but I do and here’s why:

As I mentioned before, McDonald’s, like any company, operates in a free market world and, unless it actually tries to manipulate governmental laws (like some other companies do) then its existence cannot but rely on the demands of the buying public.  That public demand is swayed by none other than those outspoken critics who remain firm and public in their stance against McDonald’s despite any efforts to change that they make. In other words, we have the critics, the whistle blowers and outspoken principled individuals to thank for the very change that they themselves are skeptical and distrustful about and I also applaud their efforts.

This is a very clear example of the principle of dialetics in action where two forces in dynamic opposition eventually create a synthesis and become the same thing, even if those in opposition cannot see it for themselves. To me, the macrobiotic effort has been to not only introduce a principled approach to life but to also make us aware of and embrace this very process of dynamic change so that we not remain stagnant  and inflexible in blind opposition when it no longer serves us.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ian Madge permalink
    January 8, 2011 8:17 pm

    ….Starbucks coffee shops have offered oatmeal for awhile now and it has apparently been a success for them. They offer it with brown sugar packet, mixed dried fruit bits including cranberries, and kibbles of nuts. This maybe the successful lead that McDonalds is following.I’m glad to see it! I go to work at 6AM and this allows me to stop by McDonalds for an oatmeal without having to get up even earlier to prepare a breakfast for myself.Not perfect but moving in a better direction! I applaud this move as well.

  2. January 15, 2011 9:48 am

    It’s very exciting that they are now serving porridge. Tim Horton’s Coffee, which is the national coffee shop, started by a hockey player and a Canadian icon, has started offering oatmeal (various flavours). I order plain oatmeal with berries for 1.99 and I feel satisfied until lunchtime. It’s such a luxury to be able to drive through and order breakfast on those days when there’s no time. It makes me feel mainstream!

    I wrote to TH and asked if they were using gmo oats or organic oats and if their berries were sweetened. They haven’t responded. Imagine the agricultural revolution if they decided to go with organic!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: