Meet The Iowans Who Are Helping Change How 25 Million People Are Eating Every Day

December 20, 2018

In September, McDonald’s announced a major step in its ongoing food journey – its classic burgers have no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors and no added colors from artificial sources. The pickle contains an artificial preservative so customers are able to skip it, if they prefer. McDonald’s classic burgers include the hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Big Mac.

Behind the scenes in McDonald’s food transformation journey, are four native Iowans working in partnership with suppliers, franchisees and subject matter experts to help McDonald’s make these meaningful changes. Let’s learn more about them and the roles they play:

Dr. Cindy Goody, Senior Director of Ingredients and Nutrition for McDonald’s USA, is charged with developing and implementing long-term strategic direction for food, ingredients and nutrition plans. She provides food and nutrition science expertise to McDonald’s U.S. system and oversees McDonald’s ingredients and nutritional information development and communications processes. Most recently, she led a cross-functional team that evaluated the use of artificial preservatives, flavors and added colors from artificial sources in a number of products offered on McDonald’s U.S. menu. Dr. Goody grew up outside of Iowa City and earned food, nutrition, consumer science education and business degrees from Iowa State University and The University of Iowa.

Chef Chad Schafer, hails from Marshalltown, Iowa and led the development of making McDonald’s 100% fresh beef Quarter Pounder burgers. Chef Chad and his team worked closely with Supply Chain, Operations and Food Safety partners to determine how McDonald’s could effectively, efficiently and safely transition from frozen to fresh beef patties. Which is no small feat for 14,000 restaurants coast to coast! “Being a chef at McDonald’s is a privilege. We can make a difference in how the world enjoys food,” says Chef Chad.

Chef Mike Lingo started his career in food working at his dad’s grocery store deli in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Lingo, who holds degrees from Iowa State University and the Culinary Institute of America, led the development of McDonald’s Signature Crafted Recipes line, and the reformulation of the McNuggets recipe using chickens raised without antibiotics. Lingo’s food philosophy is that “food should be delicious and fun.”

Kevin O’Brien, McDonald’s Owner/Operator, is a second-generation owner/operator whose organization manages 18 McDonald’s restaurants across Iowa. O’Brien plays a key role on McDonald’s Menu Experience team – a group of McDonald’s franchisees who work closely with McDonald’s Menu Innovation Team – to provide feedback and direction on new and existing menu items. O’Brien is passionate about ensuring restaurant kitchens are equipped with innovative equipment, designed to provide customers with high quality food at the speed they expect from McDonald’s. The O’Brien family has been operating McDonald’s restaurants in the Iowa City area for 60 years.

While any change McDonald’s makes to its menu and food offerings involves many individuals throughout the company, its owner/operator community and supply chain partners, these four Iowans are making significant contributions to how and what 25 million people across the country are eating every day – that’s like feeding about the equivalent of the U.S population once every 13 days!