Chicken McNuggets - Six-Pack - Key - © McDonald's Restaurants

Chicken Wars: Whose Chicken ‘Has The Most Chicken?”

Life was simpler back then. Just a year or two ago, all chicken sandwich lovers had to worry about was whose version of the Chick-Fil-A classic they would give their allegiance. Now, a new front has opened up in the Chicken Wars: Whose chicken ‘has the most chicken?”

Spicy McNugget - © 2020 McDonaldsMcDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets, back for a limited time this fall.

It all started last week when Taco Bell execs took a strip off McDonald’s over its iconic Chicken McNuggets. Competitors and consumer groups have been criticising McNuggets for years as ‘pseudo food’, composed of ‘pink slime’.

Imihara - sm - © McDonaldsMcDonald’s was so concerned about the negative publicity McNuggets were getting that they hired former Mythbusters star Grant Imihara to host a video vindicating the menu item. The still photo at left shows Imihara (right) conferring with a Tyson’s McTech at a McNuggets factory.

Wendy’s chimed in on the controversy – presciently – in 2020 with a post on its official X (formerly Twitter) site. In answer to a post by a customer (?), the company equated McDonald’s then-new Spicy McNuggets with garbage: “Must have scraped up all of BKs leftovers and slapped [a] mcprice tag on it.

Perhaps most damning was the assessment of a US Federal Court judge, who called the McNugget, “a McFrankenstein creation.”

A contentious issue

The Bell opened up the old can of worms again at a media event this past week launching its own new Chicken Nuggets. Chef Brett Pluskalowski of Taco Bell’s food innovation team described his chain’s nuggets as being made with all white-meat chicken marinated in a jalapeño buttermilk.

“This is real chicken,” he crowed. “When you go to McDonald’s, that’s not what you see.”

Taco Bell brand marketing rep Jessica Perri backed him up: “This is like truly a very premium nugget. It’s not a chicken nugget patty you might get at some fast-food restaurants. This is very much more elevated.”

McD’s had released no response to the Taco Bell tirade as of this past weekend. However, The McDonald’s website asserts that, “Chicken McNuggets are made with all white meat chicken and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.” Likewise, McChicken sandwich patties.

How much actual chicken is in there?

McDonald’s US demurred from releasing figures on the amount of chicken in its McNuggets, But McD’s UK revealed that its Nuggets consist of about 45 percent meat.

Which brings us to the crux of the issue: How much chicken is really in Fast Food Chicken menu items?

The answer is simple. There’s as much chicken in those menu items as the makers claim. If that was not the case, there would be hell to pay from the public! Wall-to-wall class action suits claiming false and misleading advertising.

And the federal government agencies charged with regulating food products would be all over the Fast Food purveyors.

Common sense prevails

Once again, I leverage good old common sense to sort out the mess of misconceptions circulating around Fast Food Chicken. Delish didn’t do anybody – including themselves and their image as any kind of authority – any favours by publishing a blog post by Danielle Harling claiming that many Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches are not ‘100 percent Chicken’ as claimed pretty uniformly in resto ads.

Anyone with a functioning sense of critical thinking will immediately see that claims of adulteration of Chicken patties and Chicken Breast Fillets with starches and other materials are pure hokum. Listings of starches and other ingredients refer to components of the crispy coatings on the chicken. Not the chicken itself.

Sorry, Danielle…

But did you even stop to think for a moment before sitting down to write your condemnation of not only McDonald’s but also Wendy’s and Subway’s chicken sandwiches? Did you even make a phone call, visit the brand website, perform a simple Google search, or make any other attempt to verify the info you reported in your post? That’s what real journalists do. And they craft careful attributions identifying the sources they used to get the info they report.

My take

After getting thoroughly off track re.- the stated topic of today’s post, I really should get back on before signing off.

I’m tired of reading sensationalistic stuff from amateur journalists who just want to make a name on the controversy. Yes, there is a bitter and almost libelous barrage of accusations and slurs coming from competitors, targeting McDonald’s. But it’s all pointless, baseless blather, if you want to argue whether or not one product has more or less chicken than another.

~ Maggie J.