McDonald's says it's simplifying its grilled chicken recipe to remove ingredients people might not recognize, marking the latest sign the company is rethinking its menu to keep up with changing tastes. The company says it expects the new "Artisan Grilled Chicken" to be in its more than 14,300 US stores by the end of next week, in products including a new sandwich, as well as existing sandwiches, wraps, and salads. It says the biggest change is the removal of sodium phosphates, which it said was used to keep the chicken moist, in favor of vegetable starch. The new recipe also does not use maltodextrin, which McDonald's says is generally used as a sugar to increase browning or as a carrier for seasoning.
The company says the chicken will also now be cooked with a blend of olive oil and canola oil, instead of liquid margarine. A company rep notes the new chicken will have 12 ingredients, compared with 18 ingredients for the previous recipe (ingredients listed on the McDonald's website include salt, vegetable starch, sugar, garlic powder, lemon juice concentrate, honey, and onion powder). The change comes as McDonald's fights to hold onto customers amid the growing popularity of places like Chipotle that position themselves as more wholesome alternatives to traditional fast food. McDonald's also is experimenting with an all-day breakfast menu, notes USA Today.