It’s In the (lack of) Marketing

Surrender Hippos…Hmmpf!

This is something I wanted to point out all week.

It seems it will be just a little bit healthier to go to McDonald’s in a couple of months. After the outright ban of trans-fat oils in New York City, McDonalds announced Monday that they have already decided which oil they would use and have started using it. According to the Washington Post on Monday,

McDonald’s Corp. has finally selected a new trans-fat-free oil for cooking its famous french fries after years of testing, the fast-food chain said Monday.

While it has developed a healthier new oil, the company is still not saying when it will be used in all 13,700 U.S. restaurants. It already trails competitors in committing to a zero-trans fat oil.

Spokesman Walt Riker said the oil is currently in more than 1,200 U.S. restaurants after extensive testing, but declined to provide details on timing or locations.

“We can confirm that we’ve got the right oil,” he said. “We’re phasing it in.” [my emphasis]

I find it really interesting that they refuse to tell people which restaurants are using the oil.

I suspect they are trying to avoid the New Coke Catch-22. Do something people would like. The only reason it gets refused is because it’s different not because it isn’t better.

Back when I first started following the tran-fat facts in NYC, I wrote the following,

One of the big defenders of trans-fats is McDonalds. They claim their French Fries will no longer taste the same. The problem is, after 6 months no one would know.

I seem to have gotten it right.

According to the article McDonalds has been testing various oils for the past seven years. Now they have found something but the taste of the fries is probably subtly different. Not enough that you would notice unless you had fries from two different restaurants and did taste testing. You might also need to engage in fry fondling to determine which is ‘crunchier’ but I won’t go there.

Thus, for about 10% of America the good old trans-fatty McD fry is history; gone the way of the Dodo, the Carrier Pigeon, the Fat Guy in The Meaning Of Life.

For once the marketing guys and the science guys got together to make Americas life marginally healthier instead of the other way around.

Now, if they can only start reducing the number of calories in the average McDonald’s hamburger bun, we’ll be on a roll – well – waddle.

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