Burger King is releasing new French fries today that it says have about 20% fewer calories and 25% less fat than its regular French fries.
Dubbed "Satisfries," the crinkle-cut product is lighter because the batter used absorbs less oil than typical French-fry batter. The new fries are being marketed as having 30% fewer calories and 40% less fat than McDonald's fries. The smallest portion of the fries clock in at about 190 calories and will retail for about $1.29. Burger King's regular fries will still be offered.
"One out of every two Burger King guests orders our classic French fries, and we know our guests are hungry for options that are better for them but don't want to compromise on taste," said Alex Macedo, president North America, Burger King Worldwide, adding that the chain sees the new fries as "one of the biggest fast-food launches."
When it comes to what we eat, we know that small changes can have a big impact," Mr. Macedo said. Mother is Burger King's lead creative agency and is handling the marketing for the new fries.
The move comes as nearly all fast-food chains are scrambling to offer fare that's perceived as lighter, healthier and in some cases, fresher. In 2012, Burger King rolled out new smoothies, wraps and salads, products that typically are marketed as healthier. McDonald's has long offered similar products, but it has also ramped up promotion of the McWrap to appeal to consumers who are looking for lighter, fresher food. However, many of these products don't sell as well as core products like fries and Whoppers.
This isn't the first time Burger King has reworked its fries offering. Since the 1990s, Burger King has reformulated its fries three times. Rival Wendy's in 2010 overhauled its fries and released its "natural-cut" fries, which had sea salt and the potato skins left on them.
McDonald's hasn't tinkered with its fry recipe much, but the chain last year, as part of its Olympics marketing, marketed the Favorites Under 400 Calories menu. McDonald's also in recent years has said it would reduce added sugar, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes and reformulations. Many of the chicken items have gone through a 10% reduction in sodium; McDonald's plans to reduce sodium an average of 15% across its national menu by 2015.
Taco Bell this year announced a similar initiative, although some details are still unclear. The chain is aiming to have 20% of combo meals not exceed one-third of the recommended dietary allowances, operating on the assumption that most people eat three meals per day. For instance, based on a 2,000 calorie diet recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Taco Bell has pledged to have 20% of its meal deals have no more than one-third of that total calorie count, or an estimated 666 calories.