World’s first vegetarian McDonalds—not in the USA

580 days and counting…

But in India, where people have been eating mostly plant-based foods for a very long time. Up until now, I always thought of “vegetarian McDonalds” as an oxymoron, so this is welcome news. As reported earlier this week (9-4-12) by the BBC:

McDonald’s, the world’s second biggest food outlet after Subway, increasingly adapts its range to local demand. Both India’s Hindu majority and Muslims can eat the same meat-free dishes. Religiously observant Hindus see cows as sacred and avoid beef, while Muslims view pigs as unclean and avoid pork.

McDonalds in India

According to the AFP news agency, McDonald’s will open the outlet in the middle of next year, near the Golden Temple in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in northern India. Religious authorities forbid consumption of meat at the shrine.

A spokesman for McDonald’s in northern India, Rajesh Kumar Maini, told the news agency: “There is a big opportunity for vegetarian restaurants as many Indians are vegetarian. “At the moment, India is still a very small market – we just have 271 restaurants in India, and across the world, we have nearly 33,000.”

Is McDonald’s going green and beginning to offer more Earth-friendly foods?

Money Talks. The moral of this story is that our clever food marketers will learn now to make money—no matter what the dietary preference of the customer. And if we gradually move toward a plant-based diet in the United States, the fast food and the slow food chains will be right there to take care of our dining needs. More from the BBC story:

McDonald’s has moved to provide more salads and other healthier foods with less sugar, salt and fat in them, in response to public concerns about diet. In India, its menu is typically 50% vegetarian. Its signature dish in the country is the McAloo Tikki burger, which uses a spiced potato-based filling. It accounts for 25% of total sales.

Not exactly 4Leaf healthy, but a step in the right direction.

The Bottom Line. When Americans start demanding healthy food, our food producers will start delivering it. But they’re not going to be the ones to lead the revolution. They’ve learned to profit quite nicely with the status quo—and are in no hurry to change it.

In the meantime, it’s really not that difficult to find a healthy meal almost anywhere. Not only that, your meal will usually cost about half of all the other entrees. Take a look at a few of my earlier blogs on this topic:

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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4 Responses to World’s first vegetarian McDonalds—not in the USA

  1. Michael Cappellucci says:

    I’m happy to hear that McDonald’s in India is finally opening a pure vegetarian restaurant. I’ve visited one in Bombay which serves chicken as well. Apparently they use separate fryers for the veg and non veg dishes, and there are no animal-derived flavorings in the fries. Not sure if I would trust it, but oh well. Still terrible for the body, but as you say Jim – a step in the right direction. I’ve been to India a few times and I’m actually going back in a couple months. Many of my friends there are vegetarian for religious reasons. They still eat dairy, however, and sometimes in rather large quantities. In a country where about 40% of the population is vegetarian, you’ll find tons of pure veg restaurants practically anywhere you go. What worries me is that with wealth increasing, especially among the middle class, and attitudes toward religion changing, it’s almost certain that more Indians who had previously been vegetarian all their lives will begin adopting a western diet. There are already enough problems surrounding hunger and poverty in India today – imagine how these problems will grow exponentially with an increase in animal consumption. It’s unfortunate that many Indians today see meat-eating as a sign of affluence.

  2. I saw a “veggie” burger at a Burger King in a travel stop last week. I was on the 80 toll road in Ohio, I dunno if BK offers them all over, or what the ingredients are, but I was surprised to see it. (During this same trip, I stayed at a $140/night hotel that did not offer ONE piece of fruit in the otherwise massive morning breakfast buffet … not even an orange or banana!)

  3. Nigel Richardson says:

    The proof of the restaurant will be in the food they serve and the chances are they will offer a host of dairy products.

  4. Jim Hicks — I did manage to get your book and a quote from your blog in today’s Santa Maria Times newspaper Letter to Editor!

    Regarding your recent editorial, “Finding water in the future,” yes, switching to mostly eating plants has many huge benefits.

    John Robbins and Dr. Michael Klaper got these findings correct over 25 years ago. Google their old video titles and watch online “Diet for a New America” and “A Diet for All Reasons.” Dr. John McDougall got it correct, mainly for optimal health, 36 years ago. All three are still educating us. Study Dr. McDougall’s 2012 book, “The Starch Solution,” and J. Morris Hicks 2011 book, “Healthy Eating — Healthy Planet.”

    Extracting a summary from Hicks’ daily blogs, by simply changing to a whole-foods, plant-based diet, humans can cut our global water consumption by over 50 percent, eliminate the single biggest cause of global warming, reduce our total energy consumption by as much as 30 percent, feed the world’s 7 billion people on less than half the land we are now using, and take charge of our health and cut our cost of health care by up to 80 percent, saving trillions of dollars and extending billions of healthier lives.

    Locally, for the last five years, the Society of Vegetarian-inclined People (SoVIP) has been conducting a grassroots healthy lifestyle education class focused on adopting optimal plant-based nutrition. Reversal of food-borne illnesses result.

    You can safely lose weight without being hungry, reverse type-2 diabetes, lower blood pressure and total cholesterol, increase circulatory health, relieve digestive maladies, reduce/eliminate medicines, avoid surgical procedures, etc.

    And, as vegan former President Bill Clinton says, “I like the foods I am eating now!”

    Bill Kleinbauer

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