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On Revamping Packaging and Green Restaurants: McDonald’s To Emphasize Sustainability

McDonald’s, the world’s best-known fast food chain, is aiming to overhaul its brand image, yanking its current packaging and implementing what Global Chief Marketing Officer Mary Dillon dubs the “biggest packaging initiative in the history of the brand.”

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The revamped look emphasizes the product over the company’s tagline, and features a big picture of the food on the cover. It also features nutritional information and images of fresh produce: potatoes, lettuce, wheat, eggs, and also of farm machinery. The packages come in red, purple, yellow and blue and the lettering uses a wide range of fonts.

Eighty two percent of the chain’s food packaging in its nine largest markets is now made from sustainable materials.

The company has been involved in sustainable efforts for some time now: the company’s CSR report explains that, currently, over 91% of the fish used in the company’s products comes from sustainable fisheries. It has a rainforest commitment policy that bans beef sourced from rainforest areas. Almost all of its slaughterhouses were audited, and approved for animal welfare issues in 2007.

Seven of its markets have introduced an environmental scorecard (a tool for McDonald’s suppliers that links performance indicators to relevant environmental guidelines.)

The company has “green restaurants” – incorporating energy efficient features like permeable pavements in the parking lots to reduce storm water flowing to sewers and roofs that collect rain — in the U.S. and Sweden. It is in the process of constructing more in Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica and France.

And yet, when one thinks McDonald’s, greasy burgers, obesity, and possibly cardiac arrests are still the first thoughts that come to mind for many.

The chain plans to change this using “sophisticated graphics, photography and storytelling” to positively impact customer perceptions.

As of November, McDonald’s will extend its packaging overhaul to a whopping 118 countries – from Iceland to India.

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