Revealed: The secret behind the irresistible taste of McDonald's fries

Unveiling the secrets of McDonald's fries: A TikTok video exposes the surprising ingredient that makes them so delicious, but it might disappoint vegetarians and vegans.

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Have you ever wondered what makes McDonald's fries taste so incredible?

We're not promoting the fast-food chain here, but it's hard to deny how good their fries taste. Recently, a TikTok user named Jordan Howlett shared some intriguing secrets about major junk food chains, including McDonald's.

In his viral video, he revealed the reason behind the distinct taste of McDonald's french fries, and it may come as a surprise, especially to those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

The secret ingredient that makes McDonald's fries stand out

According to Howlett, the fries at McDonald's taste the way they do because they are made with a mixture of natural beef flavors and vegetable oil, as revealed in his April TikTok video, which has amassed an astonishing 15 million views. However, the San Diego-based content creator warned that this news may not be well-received by vegetarians.

Implications for vegetarians and vegans

A sign for the U.S. fast food restaurant chain McDonald's is seen outside one of their restaurants (credit: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS)
A sign for the U.S. fast food restaurant chain McDonald's is seen outside one of their restaurants (credit: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS)

Jordan points out the inclusion of "natural beef flavor" as an ingredient for McDonald's fries on the chain's online menu in the United States. However, in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Israel, the fries are fried in regular oil without beef flavoring. As a result, vegetarians can enjoy McDonald's fries without concern outside the US.

In an interview with The New York Post, Jordan expresses his fascination with discovering the beef flavoring in McDonald's fries, particularly due to its relevance for people with dietary restrictions. However, he personally still enjoys the fries regardless of their meat content.

Contrary to what the name suggests, "natural beef flavor" does not necessarily come from beef. In 2015, Eater reported that the food industry developed alternative ways to achieve meaty flavors without using actual meat products. A food chemist, Gary Reineccius, told Eater that the "natural beef flavoring" contains amino acids, common sugars, citric acid, and humectants, which create a meaty taste. In other words, this meat-like flavoring might actually be vegetarian.

Reactions to Jordan's TikTok video varied.

Some were alarmed by the presence of the beef flavoring additive, while others found humor in the situation, particularly at the expense of vegetarians who unknowingly consumed meat additives in the fries.

Nonetheless, not everyone was deterred, and some individuals maintained a positive outlook and emphasized the importance of enjoying life's pleasures, like a good plate of fries.