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McDonald's fries: The little-known ingredient that makes them so addictive

The Independent logo The Independent 15/07/2017 Beth Timmins
© Provided by Independent Print Limited

The much-adored McDonald’s French fry has a little-known ingredient that makes them so flavoursome. However, it does mean that the fries aren’t vegan because their unique taste is actually sourced from milk.

The drive-thru behemoth adds a key flavouring ingredient called "natural beef flavour" to the fries in all of their outlets across the world.

On the company’s website the flavour is listed as containing “hydrolysed wheat and hydrolysed milk as starting ingredients.” In the hydrolysation process the wheat and milk proteins are broken down with water and the resulting umami taste adds a meaty note to the craved fries.

The company makes their French fries from whole potatoes which are peeled, cut, partially fried and then packaged to be shipped to the restaurants. They are fried first at the factories and then again at the individual branches.

"Once the potatoes are cut, we push the strips to a blancher to remove the natural sugars from the strips," says Mario Dupuis, the production manager for McCain who supply fries for McDonald's in Canada.

"Following the blanching process we add a dextrose solution to have that nice even coat that we see in the restaurants. We also add an ingredient to our strips to make sure that we prevent the graying of our product throughout the process,” Mr Dupuis explains in a behind-the-scenes video showing how the fries are produced.

The company have also pledged to use eggs only from cage-free hens by 2025 and have now launched recyclable cutlery in 1,400 of their restaurants.

Other ingredients in the fries include sodium acid pyrophosphate to maintain the colour, hydrogenated soybean oil and salt to accentuate the umami taste. 

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