This is a fictitious thought provoking possible 1 year account of a future if the world’s largest single corporate provider of food & purchaser of beef and chicken (McDonald’s) flipped a switch and one day started serving only organic food. The possible health & economic domino effects that could extend world wide…ENJOY!
Question: Why would Mcdonald’s EVER do that?
To give back to the people?
To save the world?
To do the “right thing”?
Answer: If it were cheaper to buy organic food, McDonald’s would switch over simply to save money. It’s a business remember 😉
58 Million customers daily
One of the largest volume purchasers of beef in the world
One of the largest volume purchasers of chicken in the world
31,000 restaurants employing 1.5 million people
$24,000,000,000 in annual revenue
1st let’s set some background and get some perspective here.
What is everyone’s biggest complaint with eating organic?
I don’t trust it?
It has too much flavor?
It’s too cheap?
It costs too much
It’s hard to find
I don’t even know what organic REALLY means.
So allow me to explain what organic is.
A cow is a cow is a cow right?
Not really. If you raise cow A on a farm and let it graze on grass and don’t inject it with any drugs then you slaughter said ill fated animal and ground the meat and put it in a super market is that the same as…
Cow B. Raised in a crowded pen not allowed to move and exercise. No sunlight. Living in it’s own poop. Feed it corn (cows have not evolved to eat corn). Thus the cows begin to get sick and diseased due to the poor conditions. So we inject the cow with antibiotics to keep it “healthier”. We also want bigger cows so we inject them with growth hormones & steroids. Now the cow is juiced up and filled with yeast (yeast is the by product of months of antibiotics). Then we take it and ground the meat and mix it in with countless other cows and stick it in a super market.
Need I go on?…And by the way this isn’t just about beef or meat or animals. You can apply this example to fruits and vegetables as well.
Pesticides sprayed on crops to kill bugs. That stuff doesn’t just wash off. It’s in the soil and in the plants skin, etc… Chemical fertilizer, Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)…
Chemical processes used to prepare, preserve, flavor, “protect” meats, fruits and vegetables too.
IMPORTANT – I’m not trying to scare you away from food (I eat food – love it! – and I don’t freak out that I’m going to die a premature death from this one meal…but I know they add up over a life time)
Organic is defined as: “Those foods that are produced using environmentally sound methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.”
Sounds complicated and a lot of work to do that huh? Think about this…For the vast majority of human history, agriculture can be described as “organic”; only during the 20th century was a large supply of new synthetic chemicals introduced to the food supply. The organic farming movement arose in the 1940s in response to the industrialization of agriculture known as the Green Revolution.
Ummmm. So food has been organic for the past few thousand years…up until about 70 years ago? Interesting…
So now that you have some frame of reference…back to the story!
There is amazing news announced on April 1st, 2014. The front page of the newspaper says it all. MCDONALD’S RECEIVES WORLD’S LARGEST GRANT!
The articles centers around how McDonald’s received a $50 Billion dollar grant from an unknown source – but it has the stipulation that the corporation will receive this grant in $2 billion monthly payments AS LONG as, from this day on, they use only verifiable organic food and ingredients (meat, condiments, sauces, sides, desserts…)
It’s pretty amazing news. McDonald’s was the number one news story for the next 3 weeks…until the NBA playoffs started, then it was back to other news.
A few things happened right away:
1) Prices for the restaurants’ consumers remained the same. With the added income from the grant, “Micky D’s” could basically float along for the next 2 years and the grant money would take care of the increased cost for buying organic.
2) The number of people eating at McDonald’s didn’t increase (after all McDonald’s is still taboo for the ultra healthy) and it didn’t decrease either. Same customers.
3) The menu stayed roughly the same – Some things were fried with different oils (coconut or olive etc). The McRib was especially tough to replace. The drink menu had a total re haul though. Naturally flavored water and tea took over. Soda and artificial sweeteners were out!
4) Totally different suppliers of meats, and vegetables had to be found. Different processes for creating the special sauce and milk shakes and McCafe all took time to duplicate the flavor and taste. Working hard all were achieved within 2 months and all organic – no chemicals anywhere in the process.
April came and went. Then May. Then June. Then some interesting things began to happen. Some may be coincidence, some may not…you decide:
With McDonald’s switching demand, an extremely high volume of organic supplies was needed: 2.5 billion lbs of beef and 1.2 billion lbs of chicken and 625 million lbs of pork and 390 million dozen eggs and 150 million gallons of milk and whole lot of potatoes and other products. Three things happened: 1) some of the old suppliers decided to stop supplying to McDonald’s; 2) most of the old suppliers received enough revenue from McDonald’s and it was a large enough percentage of their total production that they switched their entire production and shipments to organic and; 3) a huge number of small farmers/supplies partnered and united to meet the new huge supply demands (The extra steps, legally required to ship and store organic, were expensive…when the profit margins were low…but not now!)
Many of the 1.5 million McDonald’s employees that stake a large amount of their diet on eating work food, started to have less acne and teenage skins issues (half the staff is under 21 anyway right!)
McDonald’s corporate noticed that the sick days requested by employees was down trending. It seemed that less and less of the employees were getting colds and flus.
With all these new organic supplies popping up to feed McDonald’s huge appetite, the prices to produce organic for the rest of America dropped significantly. Week after week more and more products that were not organic before are being replaced at the manufacture level by an organic item and the original non organic item discontinued all together…because it just cost too much to produce it now.
Super markets have too much organic on hand so they did away with the small organic sections they had. Now all products are side by side with their conventional counter parts…for roughly the same price. Thanks to some fancy marketing, the organic is now out selling the conventional competition.
5 months later the shift in economy has finally hit the other fast food companies. First Burger King, then Wendy’s, then Subway then more and more switch to cheaper priced organic foods and ingredients.
The stock market is a glow from all of the increased earnings from the publicly traded fast food establishments. McDonald’s leads the pack and their stock skyrockets.
Kids are going back to school and the cheapened organic prices have had an impact there too. School officials are scrambling to find and switch to the lower priced organic vendors. This frees up a decent amount of budget to help a few school programs. Not a lot of programs…but a few.
Teachers report that this year’s class of youngsters are a lot more calm and well behaved. A lot less ADD drugs are being used. Far fewer hyper active kids going to the principal’s office.
Statistics are showing a noticeable drop in health care spending. Far less new diabetics and current diabetes report needing less insulin.
In the lower income sector there was a marked decease of heart disease, diabetes, depression and asthma cases.
Sugar is once again cheaper than artificial sweeteners like high fructose syrup. This month’s Halloween candy supply is naturally sweetened with sugar again.
Many of the companies based around the pesticide, preservative, food chemical industries are going bankrupt or they creatively retooled to market non chemical versions. Eg. Ozone to kill bacteria/viruses and/or switching to service based business instead of product based business models.
The majority of super markets products are organic now…just in time for Thanksgiving! Now they just have small “conventional food” sections where non organic items are sold.
With less use of pesticides fruits & veggies don’t last as long in cross country transport so more and more local farms are popping back up and being used. Now that there are far more distribution channels (transportation and buyers) these small guys can afford to compete with the big boys.
At the year end national budget review, health care costs dropped by 10% in chronic diseases and most notably in the baby boomer group. Politicians are attributing the new health care bill for the drop (HA!)
There have been 40% less cases of the flu this month compared to a year ago. Everyone is amazed!
The lower numbers have encouraged millions to not get a flu shot this year. It must be an off year for the flu…hm
As the NFL season ends, one of the most talked about statistics is the 35% drop in injuries this season. The players seem to be unbreakable.
New cancer rates are significantly lower.
Thousands of current cancer patients are miraculously going from stage 3 cancer to stage 2. Doctors are baffled.
The Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl! (of course)
The US obesity rate has dropped by 15%
Almost a year later, the last to buy in, after many angry citizens and servicemen protest the US Military switches to the cheaper food source. All organic rations and food supplies are standard on base.
When McDonald’s officials are interviewed about the 1 year anniversary of the McO (going organic) and asked if they will be going back to conventional foods their reply was “We would love to but financially, with so few conventional food vendors and the supply required, it would be financially restrictive to do so”
…Now you keep projecting this out a few years…
Medical costs plummet?
The US obesity rate drops from 34% to 5%?
This is over simplified. But you get the point.
Q – Is this really possible?
YES. It’s been known for hundreds of years that we “Dig our graves with our teeth”
As we continue to eat food that is optimized for shelf life and transportability and quantity –vs- quality we supply the demand that businesses respond to.
Unfortunately these changes won’t happen just because some noble company wants to do the right thing and change the world. It would be fantastic if that was possible. But money is needed to finance change. For example – It’s noble that you want to buy your mom a new house… but you need money to do that too 😉
Q – Come on. Everyone doesn’t eat McDonald’s!
It’s not about eating McDonald’s (even though removing all the soda’s from the menu would be a tremendous benefit on top of being organic). It’s about McDonald’s huge heavy weight of consuming and demand shaping that causes the market to adjust.
The entire food industry will feel the ripple effect and they will all line up and follow the leader quite frankly.
Can you imagine raising a baby organic from day one? Organic whether he eat at home or anywhere in the US. That baby will have less allergies, chronic illnesses, cancer. The baby would be stronger and happier. At least one less thing to deal with in all of life’s craziness…at least he’ll be healthy enough to deal with the rest of life 🙂
Q – Too bad someone doesn’t give McDonald’s $50 Billion dollars!
Interestingly enough this can happen without McDonald’s or any other large demand driving corporation being handed a golden check. The real results of this story happened because organic food and the whole process became cheaper than conventional food.
The only reason conventional food is cheaper than organic presently is because US Policy and agricultural subsidizing MAKES it cheaper. The US allocates about $20+ billion per year to basically “chip in on the price” of certain foods/drugs to make them cheaper for companies to buy.
Q – Is there a conspiracy?! Is the government trying to kill us???
Nope. They have kids and families being affected too. I personally believe that after all this time and all these gradual changes and how all encompassing it has become…no one ever really noticed. No one ever put the dots together to see that it’s all related.
Q – What can I do?
(in order of impact)
1) Vote with your dollar
Shop at health food stores and buy as organic as you can.
2) Educate others
There is no short cut to understanding. Let your family, friends, loved ones read this same info.
3) Join an organization in your area
4) Write your local, state, national Representatives and Senators online that you want Organic to be cheaper with