McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's reported that hamburger sales held steady since the discovery of Mad Cow disease in the United States.
"The continuity of sales at the three largest U.S. hamburger chains suggests American consumers' willingness to shrug off the Mad Cow incident as an isolated case they believe will have little bearing on food safety," wrote Reuters before the end of the year.
Specifically, McDonald's reported "no reduction in the beef product being purchased." Company spokesman Anna Rozenich was quoted as saying, "Everything I've heard is that all is holding well. We have not seen a shift in product mix."
Wendy's and Burger King spokesmen echoed that sentiment. "We haven't seen any impact to our beef sales as of yet," said Laina Hanna of Burger King.
Furthermore, analysts are saying that due to the overabundance of beef in America due to the ban on exports should bring down the price of the product at home. "Restaurants selling everything from filet mignon to fast food have said in recent days that sales of hamburgers and steaks have been holding steady following news of Dec. 23 of the first domestic case of Mad Cow disease, allowing investors to shrug off initial concern that U.S. consumers would shy away from beef due to health fears," Reuters concluded this week.
The news agency reported that industry analysts now wonder if an expected oversupply of beef due to overseas bans on U.S. imports will actually help restaurants that rely on beef for a major percentage of their sales. Gary Karp, vice-president of Technomic, Inc., Chicago, made the same observation in ID Access web news on Dec. 24. "It seems strange to describe anything connected to Mad Cow in the positive," Joe Buckley, Bear Stearns restaurant analyst, was quoted as saying by Reuters. "But in the near term, if consumer demand says strong and beef prices come down, ironically this will turn out to be a near-term positive."