McDonald’s Customers in a Frenzy Over Latest Product Change

Colin Fredericson
By Colin Fredericson
April 25, 2019Businessshare
McDonald’s Customers in a Frenzy Over Latest Product Change
A customer eats with a 21 ounce cups of soda at a Manhattan McDonalds in New York City on Sept. 13, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Some McDonald’s customers in the UK are outraged over the company’s new paper straws as the fast food chain decided to ditch plastic straws over concerns of plastic pollution in the environment.

The company’s effort to make their food service more sustainable backfired with some customers who complained that the paper straws that McDonald’s had supplied were unusable. The customers claimed that their paper straws were dissolving into their drinks, according to Fox News.

McDonald’s is in the process of rolling out paper straws across all its 1,361 locations in the UK and Ireland. According to the BBC, the fast food chain in the UK alone hands out 1.8 million straws each day to its four million customers.

Martin Reed started a petition called “Bring back McDonalds Straws” a week ago, seeking 40,000 signatures to ask McDonald’s to go back to its original plastic straws. As of Thursday, the petition has over 37,000 signatures.

“Here like I’m grand about paper straws but mc Donald’s ones are like sucking up from a newspaper [sic],” tweeted Siobhan O’hara.

“I know it’s to save the turtles etc but has anyone tried drinking a McDonald’s milkshake through the paper straws? even more annoying it’s got a plastic lid they could have swapped them around [sic],” tweeted Lacey Fuller.

“Paper straws are annoying because they usually break in half like 3 sips in, but hey just take the lid off and drink it straight out the cup bc the seaturtles need saving [sic],” tweeted @bandcalledhappy.

McDonald’s customers also tweeted out photos of bent and broken, flimsy looking paper straws stuck in McDonald’s cups and lids to prove their point.

The McDonald’s UK Twitter feed has been replying to customer questions, giving a stock reply that would have been disappointing to some and hopeful to others.

In earlier news about the rollout, McDonald’s said it would still have plastic straws available for those who want to request one.

“We completely understand your concerns and can reassure you that whilst paper straws will be introduced to all restaurants, we’ll be working on retaining an alternative option for those that require one,” wrote McDonald’s UK in many Twitter replies.

“We’re pleased to announce that from May we’ll be trialling paper straws in restaurants and moving our recyclable plastic straws behind the counter,” wrote McDonald’s UK News in a tweet over a year ago.

The tweet came around the same time that the UK government announced that it would be the first country to introduce a nationwide ban on single-use plastic straws and similar plastic products.

The change in the company’s straw practice also came after UK McDonald’s head Paul Pomroy warned that McDonald’s in the UK would have to continue to innovate or face financial squeeze.

“Food inflation is running at between 4% and 7% across retail, there’s pressure on wage inflation, interest rate movements and now you are seeing businesses becoming less brave in their decision-making,” Pomroy said via Sky News. “For retailers, to be successful, you have got to keep changing and look to disrupt the market yourselves before you are disrupted.”

Pomroy said the change in straw material is another step in an ongoing process.

“We’ve been on a journey over the past 10 years with recycling, from taking out foam and polystyrene to where we are now – with Big Mac ‘clam’ boxes that are made with recycled board,” Pomroy told Sky News. “The only thing left for us to move forward on are the lids that go on to our cups. Those are complicated, but we’re working with our suppliers to find a solution to that.”

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