I first heard about CityLine’s McDonald’s All-Access Moms program and thought it would be intriguing to see the operations, food preparation and strategy of a huge corporation from behind the scenes. It is a rare opportunity to be granted access to the inner workings of one of the world’s largest restaurants. (And not only any restaurant – but one which arouses passionate opinions by so many people). I applied and was honoured to be chosen. With the decision to participate comes a huge responsibility to ask tough questions, consider philosophical positions and present all I learn in a professional manner.
Four Canadian writers were chosen, including Maureen Dennis (weewelcome.ca), Tenille Lafontaine (feistyfrugalandfabulous.com) and Jaime Damak (jesuisunemaman.com), who will write for a Francophone audience. The program will take us to Toronto and Chicago to begin, followed by farms and plants in New Brunswick, Alberta and Ontario. CityLine’s Nanny Robina will accompany the group.
My kids and I do eat at McDonalds a few times each year. It’s convenient, and it tastes good. But let’s face it, McDonalds gets some bad press and people have very strong opinions about nutritional value, corporate social responsibility and obesity. I do feel guilty every time I grab a happy meal. That said, my guilt and perhaps the opinions of many are not necessarily based on facts. This program allows me to see and experience a large part of the process first-hand. Most importantly, it gives me the opportunity to ask questions. Having access to chefs, farmers, senior executives and restaurant workers affords me the chance to learn and consider everything from the amount of fat in a Big Mac to broader issues that affect our society.
So, as I embark on this journey across the country, I promise my readers that I will tell it like I see it. I also want to know what issues are important to you and to ask your questions. Please email me , tweet, or post your queries here, and I will personally get back to each of you. This is a very exciting chance not only to find out more, but perhaps also to influence the future of a large part of our economy and culture.
– Jill Amery will try to refrain from golden arch references and the Urban McMommies joke has already been put forth, just in case you were wondering.
So your just going to talk about there potatoes????? or are you actually going to go to there farms where they torture and abuse the chickens?
I’ll be interested in seeing how this goes. You say you will have access to the farmes so you may be able to confirm or deny the comments by the poster above.
People are quick to slam McDonalds but forget that unless they buy orgranic, free range, they are getting the exact same thing in the grocery store. And since very few people can afford the organic free range, the less than ideally raised meat is the most commonly consumed.
We are vegetarians in my family, including my kids. But we still go to McDonalds. The boys will happily share a muffin and drink milk while I sip my coffee.
I started going when my twins were very young. It was around the corner and fit the double stroller. I met so many amazing people there, some have become closer than family.
People are always quick to point out the negatives about McDonalds. But they forget the good too. McDonalds will serve anyone, including those who get turned away from other places. They will hire those that other employers consider unhireable or not worth the effort to train. They allow seniors with no where else to go to sit and nurse a cup of coffee for hours.
Some of their food is crap for you. I get that. Don’t eat it or eat it in moderation.
I think the important thing to realize is that they will show you what they want to show you and they will have really nicely crafted answers to any question you can ask (because they’ve heard it all before). However, when you get home, take those answers and do a little digging. You may find a lot of half-truths, doublespeak, and things that were intentionally left out.
I had the opportunity to ask Nestle a series of questions. I posted their answers and my response to their answers on my blog.
Based on the FAQs and other materials I’ve already read on the McDonald’s website, I expect your experience with them will be similar. I would love to see you expose the truth behind the corporate speak that they feed to you.
My family has always enjoyed “Urban Mummies” and I am keenly interested in your take on McDonald’s. We go to McDonald’s about once a month;as my Dad did with me and my siblings. Thanks for doing this.
I would like to know why they can’t make the same types of changes they’ve made in the UK:
jill. this is a great opportunity. i think we as parents need to be conscious of food choices and options for our family but also realistic and not so self-righteous. Information has empowered us but also made it difficult for working parents to feel positive about the choices for their family.
knowing about agro-food practices should help us make decisions, knowing about fat and salt content makes us better consumers, but having a treat (a corn-syrup filled freezie on a hot day, a bottle of cheap imported wine after a difficult day at work, a bag of chips and a hot dog at a family picnic, a once in a while trip to mcdonalds on a family road trip) does not make us bad people.
mcdonalds was a once and a while (2 times a year) for me when I was growing up…it was never seen as a bad thing because it was never part of our family life. in our town, we didn’t have many other fast food choices. the same holds true today. it is a choice that exists, not the best choice, but frankly sometimes the easiest and least expensive choice, especially when on the road with a tired and hungry family! I think offering milk and apple slices is a great option for kids and we choose that every single time…
Thank you everybody for the input and honesty! I am really looking forward to not only talking about the ingredients and food practices, but also the social responsibility and effect such a large corporation has on our world.
Annie – I will read the Daily Mail article thoroughly, and if you have any other recommendations I would love to read them as well. I have also been following the comments on your video post, and will raise all of the questions with McDonald’s.
I encourage everyone to stay in touch and continue to comment freely. This is a golden opportunity (please excuse the humour – it’s been a long day) for parents to learn about our choices and also to influence a huge corporation.
I eat at McDonalds – far more often than I’d like to admit. I’m doing a good job at eating more healthier and cooking more at home….but I still have a ways to go. I used to work hard, long hours for little pay (going to university all the while)…and I ate McDonalds far more than I’d care to admit…every second day (at least). I still eat at McDonalds (albeit far less frequently, happily) for the simple reasons that it is relatively inexpensive and convenient. I am aware of how healthy (or unhealthy) my choices are.
It is the more unseen repercussions of my food choices that bother me the most….namely the social impacts of my consumer choices……and animal welfare. I would be especially interested to see you shed some light on these issues…regarding the treatment of animals in particular!
What a super opportunity. Thanks for your hard work in pursuing this search..I do remember taking my daughter for a great birthday party, about age 7. Terrific success!!!
Changes for “we grandparents” sprung up on us as they do for every generation of parents. I am proud you have grown up to recognize the true value of our world(even if you also seem to like those 4 inch shoes!)
This exercise will surely be a challenging one, but I have no doubt of your integrity. Do our children well.Be not dissuaded by what you may learn.I congratulate MacDonalds,your three counterparts and Urban Mommies parents who seek and value the information you continually identify. From the Heart……Gunga