It’s out with the old and “underperforming” stores for the world’s largest restaurant chain, McDonald’s. Due to the company’s plummeting sales in just the first few months of 2015, company executives have announced the closure of about 700 of the 32,500 or so McDonald’s locations across the globe. According to Time, McDonald’s “reported an 11% decrease in revenue and a 30% drop in profit for the first three months of the year,” only to prolong the troubles the franchise has had over the past two years, including an expired meat related incident in Japan, a struggling economy in Europe, and booming competitors. McDonald’s had their biggest sales drop in years – an overall sales decline of 2.3% and a 2.6% drop in the U.S. alone, according to CBS Boston. Why? Consumers are increasingly favoring restaurants that market their products as healthier. I suggest that this emerging generation is shifting our society to paying more attention to nutrition, being more health conscious, and gravitating toward buying local, natural, and organic.
Recent studies are showing a correlation between young consumers and health consciousness. According to an article in The Huffington Post, 41% of men and women younger than 20 years of age are willing to pay more for healthier options. For men and women between the ages of 36 and 50, 26% said they would pay more for healthier products, and only 16% of those between 70 and 90 said they would pay the extra cost to be healthier. As competitors like Chipotle and Whole Foods, who strongly advertise natural and organic items and products with no GMOs, become more popular and less healthy fast-food chains, like McDonald’s, are closing a good number of their stores, it is clear that we, as a society, are becoming more aware of what is being put into our bodies. Soon we’ll start seeing a change in ourselves as well, as eating healthier foods will make us more energized, improve our mood, and reduce the risk of some cancers and diseases.