McDonald's made a major change to its nuggets, and now sales are soaring

McNugget, McDonald's, chicken nuggetsFlickr/ Link576A revamped McNugget recipe is driving sales growth, according to McDonald’s executives.

McDonald’s chicken McNugget sales are soaring, according to the company.

Nugget sales have risen 10% since the company removed artificial preservatives from its recipe, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said Friday.

McDonald’s announced the change to its McNuggets in August, and said it would also remove high-fructose corn syrup from its hamburger buns and transition to antibiotic-free chicken one year earlier than planned.

After the announcement, the company received some criticism that its sauces still contained preservatives.

Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich was one of the most outspoken critics of the company.

“I was offended watching this commercial during the Olympics about the preservative-free McNuggets,” Shaich told Business Insider in August. “I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ Sure, you’ve got McNuggets that are preservative-free, but what are you dipping them in? Sauces that are filled with that stuff!”

But it appears that the change to the McNugget recipe has paid off for McDonald’s.

The company said Friday that the nuggets, along with all-day breakfast and its McPick 2 promotions, were the biggest drivers behind its 1.3% growth in US same-store sales in the third quarter.

“We are putting the customer at the center of everything we do and are directing our resources towards those innovations and investments that will strengthen our ability to deliver a better McDonald’s experience over time,” Easterbrook said in a statement. “Our customers, system, and shareholders are best served when we direct our focus and energy towards executing against these critical customer expectations.”

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