McDonald’s May Sell More Organic Foods to Boost Sales

McDonald’s McCafe
The world’s largest restaurant chain already uses organic semi-skimmed milk in McCafe coffees, porridge and Happy Meals in some restaurants in the U.K., said Becca Hary, a company spokeswoman. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

McDonald’s Corp., which yesterday posted its fourth straight quarter of falling U.S. same-store sales, may look to sell more organic food to stem the loss of customers to chains known for better-quality fare.

“You’ll see us in some categories looking to different products, possibly organics,” Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson said on a conference call. “We actually are doing it in certain markets.”

The world’s largest restaurant chain already uses organic semi-skimmed milk in McCafe coffees, porridge and Happy Meals in some restaurants in the U.K., said Becca Hary, a company spokeswoman. Organic milk also is sold in Germany, while organic fruit juice is available in Germany and France, she said.

“We have the ability to cater our menu to local and regional tastes and preferences,” Hary said.

McDonald’s has been struggling to boost sales amid increased competition for low-priced meals. In the U.S., the chain has recently tried selling $2 jalapeno burgers and chorizo burritos in some locations to lure diners. The items haven’t really attracted Americans, who are increasingly flocking to fast-casual chains where they can customize meals and find some organic fare.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., which said earlier this week that third-quarter same-store sales jumped 20 percent, sells some organically grown beans, and the tofu used in its Sofritas also is organic. Noodles & Co. customers can add organic tofu to their bowls of pasta.

Sales at McDonald’s U.S. stores open at least 13 months fell 3.3 percent in the third quarter, the company said yesterday. That trailed analysts’ average estimates for a 2.9 percent decline.

McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, slid 0.1 percent to $90.94 at the close in New York. The shares have lost 6.3 percent this year, compared with a 4.7 percent drop for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index.

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