As the world is becoming more and more health-conscious, major food corporations such as McDonalds, Boston Market, General Mills, and many more have been forced to take a serious look at their product formulas. McDonalds, for example, had to switch the fry formula to not include trans-fat oils, and Boston Market went at lengths to reduce the sodium in their mashed potatoes and other side dishes. Surprisingly, however, the companies often did not want the public to know.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, sometimes finding out a food is now healthier actually has a negative impact on its sales. McDonalds fries, for example, got thousands of complaints of a “different taste” during the oil switch, even in cities where it had not happened yet. Healthier often equates to ‘worse-tasting’ in consumers’ heads. This leads to a precarious balance food companies must face: satisfy the health trend while maintaining the flavor; no easy feat, especially considering these changes often are implemented slowly over the course of years.
Though fast-food companies are meeting change with heavy resistance, health food companies actually report a large increase in sales upon announcing a health increase. When consumers want healthy food, health increases are positive; when they are looking for some comfort food, not so much. Human psychology is a powerful thing.