Top 10 Most Common Ingredients in Fast Food

Posted on May 29, 2009 

Top 10 Most Common Ingredients in Fast Food

Order a meal in any fast-food restaurant, and you’ll likely walk away with a sandwich, fries and a drink. If you had to identify the ingredients of this meal, you might list beef (or chicken), lettuce, tomato, cheese, ketchup, bread, potatoes and soda. Not complicated, right? Wrong.

Burger and chicken joints don’t think of the building blocks of a menu item as ingredients. They think of them as components, which are made of ingredients. For example, McDonald’s famous Big Mac jingle — “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun” — suggests the sandwich has seven components. Would you believe it has 67 ingredients?

Clearly, fast food is more complicated than it looks. Many menu items contain processed foods, which have been modified from their natural state for safety or convenience. Processed foods tend to have multiple additives to keep them fresher longer. Across an entire fast-food menu, there are thousands of ingredients, ranging from the commonplace (water) to the exotic (xanthan gum).

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