Fast food chain McDonald's will introduce the McFalafel product in all of its restaurants in Israel
starting this Tuesday.
The falafel will be sold either inside Iraqi pita bread with tahini and chopped salad, in a box containing three to five pieces with tahini, or as a meal with fries or green salad and a drink.
According to McDonald's, the new product meets the health standards set by the chain: The falafel is fried in canola oil and served with tahini and chopped vegetables, and the product's nutrition information is detailed on the package.
Consumers will pay NIS 10 (about $2.8) for three pieces of falafel with tahini, NIS 16.90 ($4.75) for five pieces with tahini or for Iraqi pita bread with three pieces of falafel, tahini and chopped salad, and NIS 34.90 ($9.8) for two types of meals – with or without Iraqi pita bread.
According to McDonald's Israel CEO Omri Padan, "The McFalafel is another one of our products which has been adjusted to the Israeli taste, joining the Iraqi pita bread series which also include McKebab. In addition, McFalafel meets the standards of wise nutrition which have been promoted by McDonald's since 2003. McFalafel has 499 calories and only 6.7% fat.
"Today," Padan added, "we have 36 kosher restaurants and 124 non-kosher ones. In the first quarter of 2011 we plan to open three more kosher restaurants. In four years from today, Israel will have 200 McDonald's restaurants, 30% of them kosher, and 25 of them with a McCafé corner – mostly the non-kosher ones.
"I'm not anti-religious, I'm against religious coercion," says Padan. "I'm in favor of separating state and religion, and there are some rabbis who share the same view. We conducted a survey and reached the conclusion that the majority of the secular public, 70%, wants kosher meat, 15% says it doesn't matter, and only 5% want non-kosher meat.
"Our first decision was that there will be no bacon in the entire chain. We still sell the cheeseburger, but the public has voted against it, so we've slowly lowered its profile. Why should we openly display the cheeseburger if no child asks for it? Only 0.25% of adults ask for it, and get it."
According to Padan, "Our sales figures show that we've recorded a growth despite the competition. If people would free themselves of the feelings of guilt and be aware of the true facts, they would eat more. If someone wants to go on a diet at McDonald's, they can. But they have to watch what they eat outside the chain as well."