Why McDonald's And Wendy's Are Being Sued Over Their Burger Sizes

Food and beverage lawsuits are nothing new to the industry — but the marketing and food styling trends have most definitely changed over the years. As Fast Company explains, some food brands (such as Campbell's Soup) have been sued in the past for false advertising for using food styling tactics to make their products look flawless. Though a shift to organic and natural foods led to a new trend that allowed for slight flaws, over-the-top food styling tricks are still sometimes used in advertisements. And that's exactly what landed both McDonald's and Wendy's in their latest lawsuit.

According to The Washington Post, a complaint was filed that alleges the two fast food chains "materially overstate" their burgers in advertisements. From the thick, juicy-looking patty to the toppings stacked high on top, some consumers appear to have had enough of the misleading videography and photography. In fact, the complaint goes as far as describing just how much smaller the burgers are in real life compared to those presented in ads. 

Food stylists put a lot of work into those perfect burgers

According to The Washington Post, the lawsuit alleges the burgers sold by both McDonald's and Wendy's are quantifiably less impressive than those seen in the ads, claiming the burgers customers actually get from the chains are 15% to 20% smaller than the burgers displayed in fast food marketing.

But just how much are the chains really stretching the truth? The lawsuit claims that, while the burgers in the ads and sold in real life might be made from the same amount of beef, the difference comes down to how cooked each of the patties is. Food stylists use all kinds of methods to make food hold up and look as appealing as possible during photo and video shoots — which can take hours to complete under bright lights. That's why the patties stacked in the ads are undercooked, which gives them a plump look, compared to those people actually would get from the drive-thru. Food stylist Rishon shared with YouTube channel Well Done ingredients are also strategically placed — and handpicked by stylists — to make the food look as appetizing as possible. The burgers featured in advertisements are more like works of art than something you would actually want to eat, perfectly balanced and pinned in place, rotated so the side viewers are seeing contains the best-looking bit of every ingredient.

At the time of publication there is only one plaintiff listed in the class action lawsuit against McDonald's and Wendy's; Burger King is currently facing a similar lawsuit from the same law firms. No conclusions or dismissals have been announced with regard to this complaint just yet.