Why McDonald’s is smart to switch from frozen to fresh food – by the son of the guy who invented frozen burgers

McDonald’s recently made big news. The fast food chain announced that it’s switching from frozen hamburgers back to fresh ones (at least in its Quarter Pounders).

If you read the headlines, you know this change has been warmly welcomed — by shareholders, by the press, by activists. Let me add another voice to the chorus: mine.

Why does my opinion matter? Because I’m the son of the guy who, 50 years ago, invented both the frozen patty and the process of commercially freezing meat that Mickey D’s still uses today. What Clarence Birdseye did for frozen vegetables, my dad, Herb Lotman, did for frozen hamburgers.

There are many reasons McDonald’s has been using frozen food since 1967 — and why, in that time, its stock has made millionaires out of many investors. Frozen food is less prone to contamination, thus reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. It delivers the consistent taste that we now take for granted, whether we’re gobbling a Big Mac in Beijing or Brooklyn. Most important, frozen food is easy to transport and has a longer shelf life than its fresh counterpart.

And yet, McDonald’s is smart to offer today’s customers fresh…

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