• Steve H. Hanke
    05/04/2016 - 08:00
    Authored by Steve H. Hanke of The Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke. A few weeks ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) sprang a surprise. It announced that a...

How Fast Food Providers Beat Inflation - Add Wood Pulp To Burgers

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

On Monday, Quartz published an article by Devin Cohen titled, There is a Secret Ingredient in Your Burgers: Wood Pulp. Given the headline and people’s already present suspicion regarding all of the shady and potentially dangerous ingredients hidden in food items, the article gained a lot of traction. In subsequent days, most journalists and bloggers have focused on the dangers of this additive (unclear) and whether or not it is pervasive throughout the food chain as opposed to just fast food (it appears to be).

The one angle that has not been explored as much is the overall trend. Let’s go ahead and assume that wood pulp is a safe thing to consume, it certainly seems to have no nutritional value whatsoever. So why are companies inserting it into food items? To mask inflation and earn more profits most likely. This was a major theme I focused on last year in a series of pieces on stealth inflation and food fraud, a couple of which can be read below:

New Study Shows 59% of “Tuna” Sold in the U.S. Isn’t Tuna

New Study Shows: Food Fraud Soared 60% Last Year

The Quartz article notes that:

There may be more fiber in your food than you realized. Burger King, McDonald’s and other fast food companies list in the ingredients of several of their foods, microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) or “powdered cellulose” as components of their menu items. Or, in plain English, wood pulp.


The emulsion-stabilizing, cling-improving, anti-caking substance operates under multiple aliases, ranging from powdered cellulose to cellulose powder to methylcellulose to cellulose gum. The entrance of this non-absorbable fiber into fast food ingredients has been stealthy, yet widespread: The compound can now be found in buns, cheeses, sauces, cakes, shakes, rolls, fries, onion rings, smoothies, meats—basically everything.


The cost effectiveness of this filler has pushed many chains to use progressively less chicken in their “chicken” and cream in their “ice cream.”

This is the part that really interests me. When did these companies first introduce this substance into their products and what is the growth trend? My guess is that as food costs have risen, the proportion of non-nutritonal fillers has increased substantially. That said, I’d like to see some data and I haven’t yet.

My big takeaway here is the same as last year’s when I first started writing about the trend. As the cost of food continues to rise, the cost of not paying attention to what you are eating rises exponentially. Companies will continue to try to mask inflation by shrinking package sizes, and when that is no longer possible, increasingly inserting empty fillers (or worse) into their products.

Meanwhile, the following video is a telling spoof on the ingredients in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

On a related note, if you haven’t read my recent post on BPA, definitely take the time: National Geographic Reports – Chemicals Causing Infertility in Pigs are Present Throughout Human Consumer Goods.

Bon Appétit.

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Thu, 07/03/2014 - 13:44 | 4922089 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

By putting more people on EBT.

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 13:49 | 4922117 john39
john39's picture

don't sweat it. when you inevitably get seriously chronically ill from eating this poison, Obamacare (TM) will be there to save you.

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 13:58 | 4922160 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

And you fucks probably laughed at the Norks for eating grass, bark and shoes as they starved.

Here, in exceptional Amurika we have our tree bark prepared for us. USA USA USA!

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:07 | 4922173 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Could be a feature, not a bug…

Marketing.. “ You are what you eat.. Eat our Pulpburgers to be strong as the mighty oak tree” or “only the finest redwood used in out  Bunyan Burger”.

Speaking of bugs.. "insect parts" though usually not specified, is an ingredient of most of that stuff.

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:07 | 4922198 Ness.
Ness.'s picture

Didn't the Wookie once tell us all to 'Eat your trees'?

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:16 | 4922208 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Damn... this shit is even in my Wendy's Frosty. That's just doesn't seem right.


McDonald’s uses cellulose in the following products:

  • Fish Filet Patty
  • McRib
  • Premium Caesar Salad
  • Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap
  • Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken
  • Southern Style Chicken Biscuit
  • Strawberry Sundae
  • Natural Swiss Cheese (used in McRib, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Angus Mushroom & Swiss, Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich, Angus Mushroom & Swiss Snack Wrap)
  • Shredded Cheddar/Jack Cheese (used in Ranch Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken, Premium Southwest Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, McSkillet Burrito with Sausage)
  • Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:19 | 4922237 BLOTTO
    BLOTTO's picture

    Wood chips?...pink slime?...wtf?


    One cant even EAT without 'them' trying to fucking make you sick - and 'sick' not just physically...but mentally as well.

    And when you see the innocent that just try to enjoy -in moderation- some burger and fries in peace...it makes you want to cry.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:41 | 4922323 msmith9962
    msmith9962's picture

    But the trees are organic free range.  Thats good, right?

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:54 | 4922345 krispkritter
    krispkritter's picture

    If anyone needs me I'll be out in my woods cutting down some burgers for dinner...

    "Flame-broiled Whoppers: Now with real charcoal cooked right in!"

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:33 | 4922491 Headbanger
    Headbanger's picture

    Soylent Green... is made out of people..


    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:20 | 4922648 NoDebt
    NoDebt's picture

    Just like in the Great Depression (the first one).  Grandparents told me stories about people putting sawdust in their bread because they just didn't have enough flour.  

    And here we are again.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:48 | 4922738 max2205
    max2205's picture

    Who ever thought N Korea would be a trendsetter? 

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 17:21 | 4922846 Canuckistan Al
    Canuckistan Al's picture

    Meh, how about "Meat Glue"?



    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 17:22 | 4922847 Canuckistan Al
    Canuckistan Al's picture

    Meh, how about "Meat Glue"?



    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:19 | 4922242 Silky Johnson
    Silky Johnson's picture

    Sleazy business men looking to maximize profits, they would sell us radioactive waste if the could make more money doing it.

    The real sick ones though are those motherfuckers at the FDA that are supposed to be policing them. They rubber stamp the shit so long as the govs skim of the loot is on time.

    No punishment will be too heavy for those sick fucks.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:24 | 4922260 ZerOhead
    ZerOhead's picture

    "Perhaps most important to food processors is that cellulose is cheaper, he added, because “the fiber and water combination is less expensive than most other ingredients in the [food] product.”

    Indeed, food producers save as much as 30% in ingredient costs by opting for cellulose as a filler or binder in processed foods, according to a source close to the processed food industry who spoke with TheStreet on the condition of anonymity."


    When they discover that dirt is even cheaper than wood pulp you can bet your burger is going to taste like... well... dirt.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:35 | 4922302 petolo
    petolo's picture

    dirt....? It was just ground this morning.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:47 | 4922334 BLOTTO
    BLOTTO's picture

    Why does my burger taste like California Chrome?

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:34 | 4922499 Bastiat
    Bastiat's picture

    You wish!

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:42 | 4922722 max2205
    max2205's picture

    I don't always eat wood, but when I do, I prefer moahagany

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:39 | 4922316 CheapBastard
    CheapBastard's picture

    Service at McDs has plunged to an all time low in my area. Hard to tell who is worse; the 'diverse' kids with chips on their shoulders, or, the non-english speaking crowd, or, the white teen who does not know how to count. I actually look forward to one of the 'grey hairs' b/c they are usually polite, know how to count and get the order correct.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:00 | 4922368 cossack55
    cossack55's picture

    Just for shitsandgiggles, try paying using Eisenhower dollars (about $1.15 at coin stores). The response I normally get is "We don't accept foreign money". 

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:05 | 4922386 CheapBastard
    CheapBastard's picture

    he he he. I have done similar when I feel a mean streak in me and hand the kid $1.08 for a 96 cent order.


    The bewildered look on his face....Precious!

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 17:10 | 4922799 americanspirit
    americanspirit's picture

    And then it's just a tiny step to using "fecal extract from free range chickens". Why not? Anyone who has ever seen chickens feed know that they think turds are YUMMY. So just dress the little darlin's up with a tiny basker underneath their tail and catch all that valuable burger condiment before it gets mixed in with DIRT.

    Oh, wait. Seems we have a twofer here folks. Dirt flavored shit. Yum.

    Heck, it doesn't really matter. 90% of the chicken sold in supermarkets has fecal contamination. So why not standardize the fecal/dirt content so that we'll actually KNOW how many McNuggets you can eat before crossing the River Styx.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:56 | 4922357 msmith9962
    msmith9962's picture

    Also an excellent source of violent diareah!  It's all how you spin it. 

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:01 | 4922370 NotApplicable
    NotApplicable's picture

    As always, I would point a little further up the "food-chain" to the sleazy businessmen known as "Central Bankers."

    Once you realize that it is IMPOSSIBLE for honest businesses to succeed in a competitive environment undermined by endless fiat, what other option is left other than shutting down entirely?

    If they do try to survive without cutting corners, they only end up consuming all of their capital as they try to stay afloat, until such time as reality shuts them down as well.

    Welcome to the criminal enclave known as Bizarro World. Please check your sanity at the door.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:23 | 4922657 SofaPapa
    SofaPapa's picture

    Has anyone else noticed the surge in articles such as the following?  TPTB are desperate, and based on the article we are commenting on here, the general population is actually dumbed-down enough to go for it.  This is SO depressing!!!







    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:48 | 4922336 fallout11
    fallout11's picture

    "Its good for the environment, and okay for you!" - Actual food advertisement from 2012's "Judge Dredd" film.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 18:56 | 4923132 jez
    jez's picture

    Speaking of bugs.. "insect parts" though usually not specified, is an ingredient of most of that stuff.


    Damn. And here I was, thinking that a delicious woodpulp burger was suitable for a vegetarian.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:03 | 4922181 Herd Redirectio...
    Herd Redirection Committee's picture

    Cellulose.  Yum.  What do you think is in a Taco Bell taco?

    The two hidden faces of inflation, reduced product size and reduced product quality.  On top of which we have to deal with planned obsolensence, put it all together and I imagine the consumer crap we are getting these days is about on par with what 1st world consumers from 1870 would have experienced.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:06 | 4922193 Skateboarder
    Skateboarder's picture

    Once upon a time, this species prized quality. Too bad we '(d)evolved' past caring.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:34 | 4922297 rum_runner
    rum_runner's picture

    meh.. it taste good.  Me eat.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:26 | 4922463 goneYonder
    goneYonder's picture

    By all means enjoy....your illness. Cancer's a helluva way to learn about cause and effect. Don't touch the stove! Ouch!

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:11 | 4922623 MayIMommaDogFac...
    MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

    It is exactly like a drug dealer sifting baby laxative into his blow.  It is sick and it's dishonest whether everyone ought to know or not.

    I ain't gonna eat that.  (I used to eat of lot it at one point)

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 19:20 | 4923193 NuckingFuts
    NuckingFuts's picture

    Who know what they sift into that shit, it's still one hell of a drug

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 19:22 | 4923198 RafterManFMJ
    RafterManFMJ's picture

    Don't rag on Taco Bell; it's fascinating how they keep coming up with new products using their constant base of only 8 ingredients.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:22 | 4922253 zuuma
    zuuma's picture

    you definitely want to click on the "Tuna" link above.

    Key takeaway:

    "prolonged, uncontrollable, oily anal leakage” --> the disturbing outcome from consuming a (fake) tuna sandwich


    I searched my feelings and decided that I didn't want to experience that condition.

    I might offer my boss a sandwich, though.


    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:04 | 4922384 NotApplicable
    NotApplicable's picture

    Thanks to BP's "Core Exit" and Fukushima's "Endless Cesium," I quit eating it all anyway. Right now we only use it so supplement our dry cat & dog food.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 19:22 | 4923199 RafterManFMJ
    RafterManFMJ's picture

    Nice Killer Clown From Outer Space avatar.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:26 | 4922472 TheReplacement
    TheReplacement's picture

    Why would anyone laugh at NORKs starving?  Screw anyone who did or does laugh.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:04 | 4922599 kchrisc
    kchrisc's picture


    Is that a Trademark or Tyrannymark?!

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 13:59 | 4922165 DaveyJones
    DaveyJones's picture


    now termites

    what the fuck is next?

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:04 | 4922183 Manthong
    Manthong's picture


    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 13:59 | 4922166 Ozy_mandias
    Ozy_mandias's picture

    Next will be the additive Soylent Green (SYG)

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 14:24 | 4922263 S73
    S73's picture

    Now you know why they are trying to all the illegals over the border.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:11 | 4922406 laomei
    laomei's picture

    The real riots will start when people find out that their Soylent Green is only 5% people and 95% filler.

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:57 | 4922571 Jumbotron
    Jumbotron's picture

    Methyl cellulose:

    Methyl cellulose does not occur naturally and is synthetically produced by heating cellulose with caustic solution (e.g. a solution of sodium hydroxide) and treating it with methyl chloride. In the substitution reaction that follows, the hydroxyl residues (-OH functional groups) are replaced by methoxide (-OCH3 groups).

    Different kinds of methyl cellulose can be prepared depending on the number of hydroxyl groups substituted. Cellulose is a polymer consisting of numerous linked glucose molecules, each of which exposes three hydroxyl groups.


    Jesus, Joseph and Mary.....these fucker really ARE poisoning us.  Wood pulp that is bleached to form a thickerner which is made up of GLUCOSE molecules after the bleaching process.

    God help us !

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:34 | 4922702 Jumbotron
    Jumbotron's picture

    And.....looking back on this statement.....what exactly IS Methyl Chloride....which is listed as the other ingrediant along with sodium hydroxide ( which is found in Drano).......

    Methyl Chloride:

    Chloromethane, also called methyl chloride, R-40 or HCC 40, is a chemical compound of the group of organic compounds called haloalkanes. It was once widely used as a refrigerant. It is a colorless extremely flammable gas with a mildly sweet odor, which is, however, detected at possibly toxic levels.


    So....bleach and refrigerant is mixed with wood pulp and then THAT is put into our food.

    And Obamacare is going to make that ALL better.     Rightttttttt........

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 17:40 | 4922924 Cruel Aid
    Cruel Aid's picture

    i dont blame the food co's. Who is causing bottom line pressure and what agency gives them a pass? 

    Thu, 07/03/2014 - 18:16 | 4923036 Jumbotron
    Jumbotron's picture

    Are you FUCKING kidding me ?

    Right is right and wrong is wrong !!!!!     These fucks KNOW this shit is poison and they STILL do it.  You can ALWAYS CHOOSE to shut your business down and REFUSE to sell this shit to the public, no matter what government agency allows you to do it or if the FDA says its "reasonably" safe.

    Fucking do the right thing....even if that costs you your livelihood or life.

    Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!