A&W announced it is the first Canadian national burger chain to eliminate artificial flavors, colors and preservatives from its cheese. It promised the real Cheddar cheese being used moving forward will be made with 100% Canadian milk.
The company expressed its support for local Canadian dairy farmers and master cheesemakers that it relies on for its dairy products. All A&W cheeses are made in Canada, including Cheddar, Mozzarella, Jalapeno Monterey Jack and cheese curds. All 930 locations made the switch October 1.
Susan Senecal, A&W Canada's president and CEO, said, "We believe that sourcing simple, great-tasting ingredients, farmed with care is the right thing to do. Serving real cheese instead of processed cheese was the logical, and delicious, next step."
In 1972 the Canadian branch of A&W Restaurants was sold to Unilever and is now independently operated as A&W Food Services of Canada. It is Canada’s second largest burger chain and is not associated with the American A&W Restaurants brand.
In June 2018 A&W Canada became the first North American fast food chain to announce it would eliminate plastic straws from its restaurants, to be replaced with biodegradable paper straws. The company estimated this will prevent about 82m plastic straws from ending up in landfills. The transition began in August and the full phase-out is expected by January 2019.