McDonald’s Introduces “McItaly” Line of Burgers

By Sadie Bass

Jan 26, 2010 12:51pm

ABC's Ann Wise reports from Rome: Italy’s Agriculture Minister cheerfully shed his jacket and donned a McDonald’s apron today to launch the ‘McItaly’ line — two new sandwiches and a salad featuring all-Italian produce. McDonald’s latest effort to “go Italian” was presented by the Minister, Luca Zaia and the head of McDonald’s Italia, Roberto Masi, at the flagship restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome.  “McDonald’s speaks Italian,” said the banners (in Italian).   Beaming as he prepared one of the new burgers with artichoke spread (“they tell me that the sandwiches have to have a ‘spread’”), Asiago cheese, and lettuce – all produced in Italy including the hamburger meat and the bread — Zaia said he was excited by this new project .  “This sandwich has great ambitions,” he said, noting that the production of the new sandwiches will use 1,000 tons of Italian agricultural products a month, for a value of about 5 billion lire.  The other McItaly hamburger is garnished with Italian olive oil, onion and smoked pancetta. Zaia hopes these sandwiches, and the lettuce, bresaola and parmesan salad, will re-introduce Italian flavors to the huge numbers of young people – 50% of the under 30 crowd – who go to McDonalds in Italy.  “We want to give an imprint of Italian flavors to our youngsters,” Zaia said. When Italian farmers complained that Zaia was dealing with the  enemy – McDonald’s has long been seen in Europe as a negative influence on local produce and cuisine – he countered, saying “I will always defend farmers’ markets, but the big numbers are in organized distribution, which is where 75% of Italy’s agriculture goes.” The McItaly burgers will be on sale in Italy only for at least seven weeks starting tomorrow.  If the initial run is successful (they hope to sell 3.5 million of the Italian burgers) McDonalds will consider selling them outside of Italy.  Another Italian version of the hamburger, the Parmigiano Reggiano burger, has recently started selling in France as well as Switzerland and Italy.  Zaia wants the new sandwiches to go global, and the Italian agricultural products with them.

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