Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A&W goes back for the FUTURE


A&W has given their menu an overhaul after receiving a lot of customer response about what's in their food and requesting better environmentally friendly food products.

A&W is the first and only fast food restaurant to give Canadians what they really want: 

 Almost three-quarters (73%) of Canadians prefer to consume beef raised without the use of hormones or steroids 
 A full 75% of Canadians prefer to consume chicken raised without the use of antibiotics 
A&W are the first fast food chain to bring their food back to the way it was first made at the inception of fast food.  It's real food made without antibiotics and produced with ethical practices the way food was made over 30 years ago.  

At the beginning of the fast food generation there was a hamburger patty that was put into a hamburger bun and topped with real lettuce and tomatoes and condiments.   The french fries were cut fresh on site and fried from a raw state and all of the vegetables were free from pesticides and other things that didn't belong in them.   Fast forward to the industrial generation where food is produced in a lab warehouse and shipped thousands of miles to sit in freezers and on shelves for months on end.

In September 2013 they introduced beef raised without the use of hormones or steroids and this September they introduced eggs from chickens fed only a vegetarian diet without animal by-products and this October they are introducing chicken that is raised without the use of antibiotics.
They are rolling this old is new style of better food in all of their 819 Canadian locations.

It doesn't sound that groundbreaking does it?  But it really is in our bottom line the faster, cheaper the better generation where profits and efficiency came before taste and the health of the consumers and the planet.  

As one of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Ambassadors I know that Jamie fought hard to get "Pink Slime" taken out of the processed beef that was made in America.  In Canada our Beef processors do not use "pink slime" a by product washed in ammonia product used to kill bacteria and stretch the meat products.   But because of Jamie's efforts people started asking restaurants and food processors what's in their food.   A&W listened to their consumers and have gone out of their way to bring the most ethically treated food that they can get.  It's a win win for consumers and the planet.

Some of the big changes include:

100% pure beef, raised without the use of hormones or steroids, with no additives, preservatives or fillers. 

Chubby Chicken®” burgers, wraps, strips and dinners.  All feature chicken raised without the use of antibiotics. Plus, A&W chicken strips and sandwiches feature 100% real seasoned white chicken breast. 
A&W chicken comes from Canadian farms where the chickens are raised using the best farming practices in large barns where they are free to roam with constant access to fresh water, feed and fresh air. 

Canadian Grade A eggs, gathered from hens who are fed a fully vegetarian diet without animal by-products 

Classic onion rings are made in A&W restaurants daily with fresh onions from Gills Onions – one of A&W’s key produce suppliers. Gills is the first operation in the world to produce ultra-clean, renewable electricity from onion waste left behind from the fresh-cut process. 
The delicious A&W sweet potato fries are orange, but they are also green. A&W suppliers preserve and protect natural resources by controlling energy and water usage and by reducing waste and pollution. Their sweet potato processing facility is the first frozen food manufacturing plant worldwide to earn LEED Platinum certification, the highest distinction available to green buildings. 

A&W works with farmers who use greenhouses to grow tomatoes. They can grow 25 times more tomatoes than on traditional farm fields – all while conserving land, heat and water and allowing the tomatoes to ripen on the vine longer. This process provides efficiency and sustainability 

A&W has also changed to more environmentally friendly packaging including compostable paper bags for burgers and steel trays and serving baskets for fries and onion rings in restaurants. And they have brought back the famous A&W frosty mugs which is a more responsible way of packaging it's products. 

What does all of this mean for you the consumer of the food?  Well I can tell you it tastes a whole lot better than the chemical laden fast food people have become used to.  I tried their Chicken Fingers, Teen Burger and the Onion Rings.

The Chicken Fingers were real white meat that was juicy and not greasy or over salted like many fast food chains serve.  I would go back for these anytime I am craving a quick chicken fix.  I also like the crunchy Onion Rings that had a light breadcrumb coating on them.  I tried the Teen Burger and liked that the vegetables were freshly cut and the burger was very tasty.  
Then there are those frosty A&W mugs that they serve their Root Beer in.  Wouldn't you prefer to drink your soft drinks from an Ice Cold Frosty mug than a paper cup?  Yup, I thought so.   While I am not a big soda pop drinker I appreciated that they brought these back to their stores.  It keeps the drinks colder longer and just think of all the cups they keep out of the landfills.   I have visited a landfill where I saw a whole lot of Tim Horton cups.  

While there aren't as many A&W locations as there are other fast food chains I hope that the changes they have made will sway the rest of the industry to change their practices as well.  

They are moving in the direction of local and more sustainability which is a good thing.

The key to changing the planet is for A&W's changes to become successful and for other restaurants to follow suit.

One burger at a time.

Disclaimer:  The tasting of the items I sampled and the key information was provided by A&W but the opinions of the taste and quality of the food are my sincere opinions.

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