McDonald's testing 'simpler' Chicken McNuggets recipe
McDonald's is testing a new Chicken McNuggets recipe with no artificial preservatives as it works to revive its US business.
The chain said it began testing the recipe in about 140 stores in Oregon and Washington in March.
It is the latest move by McDonald's to step up the quality of its food as it works to stage a turnaround of its business, which has lost customers in recent years.
The company has conceded that it failed to keep up with changing tastes and that it is looking at improving core menu items.
Last week, it also said it is testing a version of its Big Mac that comes with bigger patties.
McDonald's did not provide details on what exactly is different about the new McNuggets recipe, but said it is "simpler" and "parents can feel good" about it.
As people have paid closer attention to food labels, companies across the food and beverage industry have tweaked recipes to remove ingredients that may be unfamiliar and unappetising.
Last year, for instance, McDonald's tweaked its grilled chicken recipe to remove ingredients people might not recognise.
That change removed sodium phosphates, which McDonald's said was to keep chicken moist, in favour of vegetable starch.
Maltodextrin, which it said was used to increase browning, was also removed.
Chicken McNuggets currently contain a long list of ingredients, according to the McDonald's website, including sodium phosphates. McNuggets are delivered to stores frozen.
McDonald's said it was getting feedback from customers with the McNuggets test, and did not say when it planned to launch the new recipe nationwide in the US.
Last week, McDonald's said sales rose 5.4% at established US locations during the first three months of the year.
The company did not say how much of that came from an uptick in customer visits.
The results were boosted at least in part by higher pricing and the closing of underperforming stores.