Honoring its commitment to "real food," Burger King announced Thursday that it has permanently banned 120 artificial ingredients and counting from its menus across the country.
The journey began years ago as a long-term strategy to exclude colors, flavors, and preservatives from flame-grilled burgers, hand-breaded chicken, and other items.
“We know our guests’ expectations are changing, and they want to make choices they can feel good about,” said Burger King North America CMO Ellie Doty in a statement. “By banning these 120 ingredients from our food, we’re offering guests an easy choice – delicious food made with quality ingredients. We’re confident that our ongoing commitment to real food will not only provide guests with the food they’re looking for, but also set a standard for the industry overall.”
In February 2020, Burger King attracted headlines when it posted an advertisement showing mold on the Whopper sandwich, which illustrated the removal of artificial preservatives. The video references the number of days that passed since the sandwich was prepared, and then afterward, "The beauty of no artificial preservatives" flashes across the screen. In September 2020, the brand announced that it had removed colors, flavors, and preservatives from artificial sources in Whopper sandwiches in all U.S. markets. At that time, 85 percent of the Burger King permanent food menu was free of artificial ingredients and the brand had cut out roughly 8,500 tons of artificial ingredients globally. For a limited time, Burger King placed the Whopper in a special wrapper that showcased the recipe with real ingredients.
To celebrate the removal of 120 artificial ingredients, the chain is rolling out Keep it Real Meals, a promotion involving celebrities choosing meals "worthy of their real names." For example, Grammy-winning artist Nelly created the Cornell Haynes Jr. Meal, which features the Whopper topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayo, and ketchup, along with small fries and a small Sprite. Additionally, Brazilian singer Anitta formulated the Larissa Machado Meal, and social media personality Lil Huddy formed the Chase Hudson Meal.
The limited-time Keep it Real Meals will be available starting September 12 at participating restaurants nationwide. Members of the recently rolled out Royal Perks loyalty program will be able to purchase any of the meals for $6. The Keep it Real Meal boxes will also include a QR code that customers can scan to unlock "fun and innovative ways to interact with the brand."
"We firmly believe that real food doesn’t have to compromise on taste, so there have been no compromises to the authenticity of every crunch, sizzle, and Mmmm our guests expect from their BK favorites," the company said in a statement.