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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: McDonald’s finally makes its move

May 22, 2008

mcdfries.JPGCheck out McDonald’s Corp’s long-awaited switch to trans fat-free cooking oil in the United States and Canada.

Jim Skinner, CEO at the Golden Arches, said the world’s largest hamburger chain finished dumping the oil with artery-clogging trans fats during the last few months. Speaking to investors at the company’s annual meeting, he also promised that pies and other baked goods would also be trans fat-free by year end. 

McDonald’s was among the first fast-food purveyor to vow to stop using trans fats, but it lagged the competition when it came to putting its money where its mouth is.

The company had its reasons. It said it was insuring a consistent taste for its french fries and looking for a supplier that could deliver enough trans fat-free oil to meet its needs.

Meanwhile, No. 3 hamburger chain Wendy’s was the first fast-food seller to swap to trans fat-free cooking oil in 2006. Yum Brands Inc’s U.S. KFC and Taco Bell chains completed their switch last year.

Burger King, the No. 2 hamburger chain, has promised to dump trans fat-containing frying oil by the end of this year. Until that happens, you can check out its nutritional charts to see how much trans fat it is serving up with your Whopper and fries.

For all the fuss made over the trans fat issue, you would have expected attendees of McDonald’s annual meeting to let up a cheer. Not so. Individual investors lodged new demands and divided into two camps: doggie happy meals vs.  kitty happy meals.

Also in the basket:

McDonald’s absorbs some costs to keep consumers

Hormel quarterly profit up 14 percent; shares fall

Children’s Place posts higher quarterly profit 

Ann Taylor outlook disappoints; shares fall

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