Supersized McDonald’s to feed your Olympic hunger – bothered?

by , Conversation Editor Consumer Rights 21 July 2011
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McDonald’s is to open its largest ever fast food outlet (I refuse to call it a restaurant) outside the 2012 London Olympics site. Is a 3,000sq m McD’s next to the world’s biggest sporting event mad or just meeting demand?

McDonald's logo

What do the Olympic Games mean to you? A massive sporting event where the world’s best sportsmen and women demonstrate what dedication, athleticism and a healthy lifestyle can achieve?

How about Big Macs, fries and all manner of greasy foods? No? Well, it should, because not only has McDonald’s sponsored the last eight Olympic Games (since 1976 if maths isn’t your strong point), it’s the only branded food retailer to feed the athletes. Ironic? You bet it is.

Stratford’s supersized McDonald’s

Anyway, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. McDonald’s this week announced that it will open its biggest fast food outlet just outside the Olympic site in Stratford.

It’ll be one of four McDonald’s at the Games, including one in the athletes’ village, allowing ticket holders to buy their supersized double-cheeseburger in a supersized two-storey Maccy D’s in between shot-put and synchronised swimming.

The store will apparently employ 470 staff, who will serve 50,000 Big Macs, 100,000 portions of fries and 30,000 milkshakes during the Games.

Running, jumping and eating burgers

So, is it crazy to offer fast food at an event that’s meant to encourage a healthy lifestyle? I’m actually pretty ambivalent about this. There’s no escaping the fact that people do eat fast food – it’s a simple case of supply and demand.

Plus, it’s perfect for events like this. Why? It’s in the name – fast food is… fast. You can grab a quick bite to eat and then run (or waddle) to watch the 100 metres final – though I’m sure Usain Bolt won’t be chomping down on a Big Mac before he takes off to become the inevitable winner.

There also aren’t many companies out there with enough cash to sponsor the Olympics. McDonald’s is quite simply a money-making behemoth.

Are you lovin’ it?

On the other hand, the Olympic Games is meant to get kids involved in sport and generally promote a healthy lifestyle. And although it’s unlikely that you’ll see Tom Daley on TV eating fries before he takes a dive, any fast food advertising at this event seems to jar. Our food expert Shefalee Loth shares this view:

‘I’m not comfortable with the juxtapose of having a world-class sporting event, which encourages children and adults to be more active, alongside a large fast food chain. Although not quite as extreme, it’s a little like having a McDonalds in a hospital.

‘I would hope to see healthier options available and calorie labelling on menus so that people could make informed choices on what they eat.’

Are you bothered about the world’s biggest McDonald’s being opened next-door to the Olympic Games? And what do you think of McDonald’s sponsorship of the Games in general?

17 comments

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thisisFoxx

The Olympics isn’t about ‘promoting an active lifestyle’. If it was, why would they make people pay an extortionate amount for the privilege of sitting down watching other people exercise? If the government wanted to promote healthy lifestyles, there are better ways to spend our money than hosting the Olympics. With this in mind, I don’t think another 50,000 Big Macs are going to make much of a difference to our obesity problem.

Although what you say about the Olympics not promoting an active lifestyle is cruelly true, one of the reasons why London won the Olympic bid was because of our promise to promote the 2012 Olympic Games in this way.

On this point, Olympic chiefs don’t think McDonald’s new supersized store will impact this goal, telling the Daily Mail:

‘McDonald’s has been a supporter of the Olympic movement and sport in general for decades. Whilst there will be a number of McDonald’s restaurants on the Park, this will be alongside a diverse and full-range of other local food offerings which we are committed to providing. We will cater for the wide range of people attending the Games, from athletes to spectators.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016769/London-2012-Olympics-Worlds-biggest-McDonalds-open-Stratford-site.html#ixzz1SkLQGYsO

Plus, to your last point, it depends on how many people are eating those 50,000 Big Macs… less is more ;)

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dean

It’s also wrong to assume that all people who eat burgers “waddle”

ie. – Contributions to the website must not be defamatory, obscene or offensive ;-)

I don’t have a problem with MacD’s sponsoring sports events, you insinuate that you do because it will attract lots of fat people. Also your comment about Usain Bolt is so wrong it’s funny.

The famous thing about Usain Bolt is that he ate nothing but McDonalds chicken nuggets before he ran the fastest 100m ever seen on this planet.

Kinda debunks the whole healthy eating thing no? Could it actually be all about moderation and exercise instead?

It was more that you’d be quite full after eating a supersize McDonald’s meal, making running a little difficult. I was aware of Usain Bolt’s chicken nugget munching before he ran, though they weren’t necessarily from Maccy’s. Plus, you’ll be (un)happy to know that Usain Bolt has given up the chicken nuggets and is on a very strict diet so that he can go faster: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/athletics/5102301/Usain-Bolt-ditches-the-chicken-nuggets-as-he-targets-sub-9.6-sec-100-metres.html

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Frank Sissons

Steeeeeno

Steeeno

Steeny steeny steeny

Steeno

Steeno.

Thanks for the support… dad?

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nr2011

I can’t see a problem with it. Is the Olympics actually to promote a healthy lifestyle?

No one is forced to eat there, and it is only the outlet big because of demand. Also is it not just temporary?

From the horse’s mouth: ‘We want to use the Games, and the athletes who compete at them, to inspire children and young people to lead healthy and actives lives too.’

http://getset.london2012.com/en/get-set-plus/healthy-and-active-lifestyles

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nr2011

Well that strap line might have done wonders to get the Olympics for 2012 in London, and the regeneration around Stratford is great, but is it really realistic to expect? I think not.

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matttm7

Considering the pricing of some of the tickets to olympic events, I think those people deserve a cheap happy meal.

We’ve been told to think of McDonalds as a treat. The Olympics coming to your city can be / is a once in a lifetime event. If that’s not a big enough treat, then I don’t know what is.

You’d hope that people are smart enough to realise that they won’t be the swiftest, highest, or strongest if they pig out on a big mac meal. They also have healthier options on the menu, but who wants those?

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Ken Milne

I do not care about the Olympics as most people in Northern England could not afford the ridiculous ticket prices and the most expensive train fares in Europe which make the games a non event. However if we could attend, the one thing we could afford would be Macdonalds, which always give value for money and is no less healthy than fish and chips kebabs and pitza.

“…could not afford the ridiculous ticket prices…” Tell me about it – in a way I’m glad I didn’t win any tickets. But that would be very ‘humbug’ of me. Can’t argue with the fact that McDonald’s is value for money.

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silverthread

I never frequent Macdonald’s but there are thousands of people who do.Good luck to them. Each time I pass a Mac’s, I see a lot of people waiting in queues or huddled around paper cups and plates, usually looking pretty miserable. Not my choice but if Macdonald’s pours money into the Games rather than me paying even more for them out of my taxes, let them have their cheap and cheerless outlet.

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Mark

Seems like a weird hangover from the late 80s and early 90s, where hedonism and consumption without borders ruled the cultural roost.

Now, that’s a good point. Our cultural views are now very different, so should a sponsor like McDonald’s, which signed on in 1976, still be the food brand to sponsor the Olympics?

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Chris

This shows the irony of it all, to a point most sublime, it has surpassed ridicule.

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Russell

The Olympics is about elite sport and high achievers. It can inspire the next generation of top athletes but I don’t think it is of any value in promoting healthy lifestyles. People don’t see the link between the two things, they are more likely to be inspired to do some exercise if they see the fat bloke from next door doing something. Having McDonalds as a sponsor (and Coca-cola, Cadburys etc) just undelines that point even further.

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