The parents who think that McDonalds "lures" kids in are the ones who can't say no.
The question was more centered around - was this a marketing decision/was it pressure from healthy advocates/is this a good business decision, etc.
Those who are taking the changed meal as a sign that they can now race to McDonald's more often
The happy meal will now be the Waste Meal
I really like that Wendy's offers slightly healthier fries (with the skins still on them and cooked with no trans-fats). If we are going to eat fries we will do it there, although I have always loved McD's fries the best.
The happy meal will now be the Waste Meal, as millions of children don't eat the apple slices and throw them away. What was accomplished by this? Certainly didn't improve the eating habits.
But a BNET blogger has poked a hole in Wendy's claims of the fries being "natural". According to the report, the fries use a stew of exotic laboratory chemicals to improve the fries' appearance, flavor, and ease of cooking.
The fries do away with the steam skinning -- ironically, one of the most "natural" parts of the average fast food company's fry manufacturing process.
Chopped, the fries begin their chemical journey with a dip in sodium acid pyrophosphate. They're also powdered with slightly more natural D-glucose (crystallized from corn). Together the two components prevent the fries from browning during their first fry at the factory and their second fry at the restaurant.
As BNET points out, this makes Wendy's fries less "natural" than some competitors. For example Five Guys' fries are only fried once and are made from fresh potatoes -- thus they don't suffer from the same browning issues, eliminating the need for the chemical dip.
Five Guys and pretty much every other large chain burger joint use a special chemical called dimethylpolysiloxane that prevents the oil from foaming, even after countless batches of fries. And guess what? Wendy's "natural" fries use this non-naturally occurring chemical, as well.
Wendy's emphasizes that the fries are made from "100% Russet potatoes." But according to John Keeling of the National Potato Council, "Virtually all processed French fries are Russets."
Even Wendy's Chief Market Officer, Ken Caldwell, so much as admits the "natural" fries aren't 100 percent natural. He states in an interview with BNET, "People are saying they want high integrity ingredients, things their grandmother would have used, that don’t look like they came out of a chemistry lab. But they’re also saying I’ve got a family to feed and can only afford to spend about $4 on my lunch, and I’ve only got about a minute or two to eat it."
"We’re taking it product line by product line to make our food closer to this real ingredients story. Over time, you’ll see our ingredient labels getting shorter and more of those high integrity ingredients. It just takes time."
Health-wise the fries are a mixed bag. They add a grab of dietary fiber -- which promotes good digestion. But they also bump sodium content 43 percent. That's a bit problematic -- excess sodium can cause heart problems, and Americans tend to get too much in their diet already.
Will Wendy's misleading labeling, though, lead to yet another class action lawsuit? You never know, but Wendy's customers may be less likely to push the point. After all, the fries may have been exposed for not being "as real as it gets" like Wendy's claims, but -- according to most -- they make up for it in taste.
Moreover, the fast-food giant will tinker with its grown-up menu as well, with the aim of cutting (for example) salt content by more than 15% by 2015.