Mixed reaction to Burger King ad as it removes artificial preservatives from signature burger

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Burger King launches social media ad campaign. Photo: Burger King.
Burger King launches social media ad campaign. Photo: Burger King.

Related tags Burger king burgers Artificial ingredients

Burger King has removed artificial preservatives from its Whopper in several European countries including France, Sweden and Spain and around 400 of its 7,346 US restaurants, with plans to remove preservatives from Whoppers in all of its restaurants this year.

The company has launched a controversial social media ad campaign to promote the news entitled ‘The beauty of real food is that it gets ugly’, showing a timelapse of a decaying burger that has no preservatives over 28 days.

Deteriorates quicker


The Whopper is topped with onions, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and pickles, all of which will contain no artificial preservatives.

"The beauty of real food is that it gets ugly. that’s why we are rolling out a WHOPPER that is free from artificial preservatives. isn’t it beautiful​," the company wrote on Twitter.

Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer for Burger King's parent company, Restaurant Brands International, said it wanted to do something that would stand out. 

The beauty of real food is that it gets ugly. It’s common knowledge that real food deteriorates quicker because it is free of artificial preservatives​," he said.

"Instead of featuring our Whopper sandwich with the classic flawless and often too perfect photographic style typically used in fast food advertising, we decided to showcase something real, honest and that only Burger King could do​.”

Reaction to the ad campaign has seen a mixture of approval and disgust.


By the end of this year, Burger King said all food items including sandwiches, sides and desserts will be free from artificial colors, artificial flavors and artificial preservatives in the USand select European countries, including Germany and the UK.

Christopher Finazzo, president for Burger King’s Americas, said in a statement, more than 90% of food ingredients at Burger King restaurants are free from colors, flavors, and preservatives from artificial sources. MSG and high-fructose corn syrup have also been removed from all food items.


Moving away from artificial ingredients isn't new.

McDonald's announced in 2018 that most of its burgers were free of fake colors, flavors and preservatives from seven of its burgers. 

A growing number of national fast-food chains have also said they would eliminate their chicken or beef supplies of antibiotics, including Chick-fil-A.

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