At McDonald’s, tap water is profitable

Water by McDonald’s. This new brand is gradually being rolled out in the establishments of the fast food chain in France, as the Evian and Badoit offer dries up. Still or sparkling, even flavored, Eau by McDonald’s is served in a disposable cardboard cup, in different formats, like Coca-Cola or other sodas.

The American giant unveiled its project at the end of March. With a clear objective: to ban plastic bottles from its points of sale by the end of the year. McDonald’s then estimated at 75 million the number of units sold each year by its care in its 1,500 restaurants across the country. He justified this approach by wrapping himself in the virtue of eco-responsibility. A virtue illustrated by its logo: the famous golden arch on a background repainted in green.

He claimed to have already taken a big step for the planet by refraining from distributing plastic straws. The American chain was in fact responding to a legal imperative, France and Europe having banned their marketing from 2021. The brand, known for its famous clown Ronald McDonald, has also pledged to remove plastic from toys distributed free of charge in its Happy Meal children’s menu. Here again, it only anticipates the entry into force of the law for a circular economy which provides for this disappearance no later than 1er January 2022.

Read also: How Europe adopted the Anti-Plastics Directive

“The biggest scam of the century”

This time, in the case of water bottles, the ecological argument for reducing the use of plastic is coupled with a financial interest. Indeed, unlike the carafe of water made available free of charge to customers in bars and restaurants in France, Eau by McDonald’s has a price. And not the least. The 25 cl cup of still water costs the consumer 1.70 euros. The 50 cl format displays a price of 2.30 euros, or even 2.75 euros in a lime flavored version. And in the children’s menu, the bottle of Evian is replaced by Eau by McDonald’s without the price being changed.

On Twitter, customers are wondering about this new offer. Where does Eau by McDonald’s come from, they ask? Response from an employee on the social network: “I work at McDonald’s and it’s amazing. It is tap water that passes through a filter and that sells for between 5 and 7 euros per liter. Probably the biggest scam of the century. And besides, customers who want a resealable bottle? Too bad, it is no longer possible. “ At McDonald’s, there is no doubt that tap water, filtered or even carbonated and flavored, is a source of financial profit.

Conversely, the decision of the world leader in fast food must be hard to swallow for the French agri-food group Danone. The owner of the Evian and Badoit brands can only deplore the loss of a client of weight. Especially since its great rival, the Swiss Nestlé, continues to sell its plastic water bottles in two other competing chains. In this case Burger King, where its brands Vittel and San Pellegrino are sold, and KFC, which has selected Vittel and Perrier. With Eau by McDo, Danone’s contract goes to waste.

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