McDonald's getting fat on Britons' love of fast-food: report

Other News Materials 7 January 2008 04:26 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - US fast-food giant McDonald's is selling more burgers in Britain than at any time in the 34 years since it opened its first outlet here, The Times said Monday, quoting company figures.

The newspaper said there were more than 88 million visits to the "golden arches" in Britain in December 2007 alone, up nearly 10 million on the previous 12 months and the equivalent of about 320,000 more each day.

The findings follow a study by pollsters Synovate in conjunction with the BBC published January 2, which suggested that Britons are now the world's biggest fans of fast food, just ahead of Americans.

McDonald's UK chief executive Steve Easterbrook was quoted as saying that the fast-food business had stalled in the wake of recent British government initiatives to target a growing obesity epidemic with healthy eating schemes.

But he said in an interview: "This is one of our strongest years for 20 years, and we feel pretty confident about the momentum we have built up."

McDonald's has changed its menu in recent years, cutting salt, sugar and trans-fats in its products and offering healthier alternatives such as porridge, fruit smoothies and chicken wraps.

But The Times said about 90 percent of sales in Britain were still for traditional fast-food fare like burgers, french fries and ice-cream while more than two million children's "Happy Meals" were sold each week in November 2007.