McDonald's released disappointing second-quarter earning results this week.
The fast food chain has been trying to attract customers with less expensive options, like the dollar menu. But it's also trying new things.
When you bite into a cucumber and you get that freshness and that moisture and that crisp, there's no disputing that that's a real cucumber.Dan Coudreaut
McDonald's executives hope that its new McWrap and other menu items, such as the blueberry-pomegranate smoothie, position the company against competitors like Subway and Chipotle.
While healthy food advocates Michael Pollan and Marc Bittman have made big names for themselves arguing that processed foods and fast food are making people sick, that view has been getting some pushback.
A serious piece in The Atlantic argues "How Junk Food Can End Obesity." And the McWrap, a chicken and vegetable sandwich that got its start in some European restaurants, is the subject of a feature story in Bloomberg Businessweek, "Why the McWrap Is So Important to McDonald's."
The person who made the McWrap happen is Dan Coudreaut, executive chef and vice president of culinary innovation at McDonald's. It marks the first time that McDonald's has used cucumbers.
"Cucumbers are magical," Coudreaut told Here & Now. "When you bite into a cucumber and you get that freshness and that moisture and that crisp, there's no disputing that that's a real cucumber. There's nothing that can deliver that same experience — maybe jicama or something like that, which we'll play with down the road."
Using cucumbers is no small thing for McDonald's.
"As pedestrian as people might think [it is] — 'I mean come on chef it's just a cucumber' — well, 14,000 restaurants making sure that that's coming in sliced and food-safe, and all of those different systems that have to be in place. You know, there isn't a farm out there that's just waiting for McDonald's to call and order some cucumbers. No, we've got to possibly buy the seed, we've got to contract the land, we've got to figure out the processes to get us to that cucumber. Nothing is easy at McDonald's, really."
This segment aired on July 24, 2013.