Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McFlurry over New Deli Snack

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McFlurry over New Deli Snack

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul James

Health experts last night questioned burger giant McDonald's motives for launching a new range of fresh sandwiches exclusively in the North-East.

The chain's bid to use toasted deli sandwiches to lure customers into its restaurants has been labelled an "empty gesture".

Medics said if McDonald's was serious about tackling the health issue, the company would hike up prices to discourage people buying burgers and fries in the region ( the country's obesity capital.

The chain's 58 North-East restaurants are being used as guinea pigs to test out seven toasted deli sandwiches ( officially launched in Newcastle's flagship Northumberland Street branch this week.

Health experts have questioned whether anyone going into McDonald's would choose a grilled veggie melt, the cheapest in the range at pounds 2.59, ahead of a pounds 1.88 Big Mac.

But bosses say the move represents a further shift to offering more customer choice and could help redress negative perceptions of their food.

A Journal taste-test saw the `McSarnies' given a cautious reception from one dietician, while health bosses welcomed a shift towards healthier options at fast food outlets.

Others toasties vary from chicken salad or sweet chilli chicken, at pounds 2.79, to an all-day breakfast or a cheese, ham and pepperoni sandwich, each pounds 2.99.

McDonald's regional communications manager, Gareth Pearson, yesterday said: "The results of the trial will determine whether it's rolled out across the country and further afield. There are healthy options in there, but ultimately we try to leave it as much to the customers as we can. It's about giving people variety and choice.

This is such an important trial and the implications of it being successful are far-reaching."

Unlike the other products at McDonald's, the nutritional data on the sandwiches has not been made available, as the trial period continues. …

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