McDonald's has announced that starting in 2018, the company will be using fresh beef in their burgers.
The company announced that it would be making the switch from frozen patties to fresh beef for its Quarter Pounder burgers at most restaurants starting around the middle of the year. The announcement comes after the company tested the fresh beef patties in 325 restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and 77 in Tulsa, KARE reports.
Spokeswoman Becca Hary said that the company didn't expect "any significant increase in price" from the new beef. "Individual franchises set their own prices."
The announcement, which includes Quarter Pounder and Signature Crafted Recipe burgers, will reportedly not affect other burgers like the Big Mac and McDouble. Restaurants in Alaska and Hawaii will also be unaffected by the change, because of the logistics of shipping the meat that distance, said Hary.
In a statement, McDonald's USA President Chris Kempczinski described the change as "part of a continuing food journey" for the restaurant chain.
"Over the last two years we have accelerated the pace of change around how we source and serve our food," Kempczinski said. "Delivering fresh beef that's prepared when our customers order their food is just another example of how we are raising the bar. We’re just getting started, and can't wait to show you what's next."
The country's largest food chain will make the change after competitors like Wendy's and In-N-Out Burger have used fresh beef in their burgers as well, USA Today reports.
"Let's start making moves customers want us to, but by no means are we done. This is a first step," said Kempczinski. He did not give a timeline for when other McDonald's burgers would make the switch.
Kempczinski added that the company selected the Quarter Pounder to be the first burger line to utilize the fresh beef, since it "is right up there with the Big Mac as we think of iconic products. The Quarter Pounder is a premium burger for us. It's where we have most demanding customers."
Kempczinski cited the new burger's taste as an improvement over the previous beef.
"When you're cooking a fresh patty on the grill, you need to cook it less," said Kempczinski. "Faster cook time on the grill means you have better flavor retention and it comes right off the grill and is delivered to the customer. Besides the perception, there are other associated benefits."
While the switch will reportedly not change who McDonald's suppliers are, the company will have to adjust its cooking instructions for employees, as well as re-educate workers about food safety when working with fresh beef.