— Burger King (@BurgerKing) August 11, 2014
Back in September, Burger King introduced Satisfries, a low-fat version of their French fries. Not even a year later, two-thirds of Burger King restaurants are phasing out the “healthy” alternative. Darren Tristano,EVP of Technomic, a food industry consultancy, tells Today that people are looking for indulgence when they go to Burger King. And even though YouGov BrandIndex found that the BK brand got a bump from the healthy offering, it wasn’t long-term.
One reason the fries didn’t succeed is price. Preparing two different kinds of fries adds costs for the restaurant. But secondly, and probably more importantly, people don’t give a flying fig about eating healthy fries. Bring on the greasy stuff, the ketchup and the mayo because when it comes to fries, it’s no holds barred.
Which isn’t to say that people don’t want fast food chains to offer a healthy alternative. McDonald’s catches heat all the time for being unhealthy, and has added fruit and salads to its menu to answer criticism.
The issue seems to be the menu choice BK made for its attempt at being health-conscious. We’d propose that people aren’t sure a “healthy” French fry is an actual thing.
Satisfries had 30 percent fewer calories and 40 percent less fat than regular fries. They also cost $1.89 versus $1.59 for the traditional version. And Time notes that the announcement of the Satisfries demise comes the same week that the Chicken Fries are making a comeback. We actually noticed that trending yesterday or the day before. That doesn’t sound good for you.
Unfortunately for a lot of arteries out there, people crave food that’s bad (from a wellness standpoint). In part, this is a branding issue. If you went to an organic salad shop and introduced fries on the menu, they might not do well even though everyone loves fries. Customers will see a disconnect between greens and broccoli and this decadent comfort food.
Fast food restaurants have a reputation for fatty foods. And now with the proliferation of dollar menus, they don’t want to pay more to not get what they came for. Time goes so far as to suggest that fast food restaurants should just give it up. People are never going to come to you thinking this is the best diet choice ever, so stick with what works. The mag present a list of menu items that failed and the numbers to show these companies aren’t making any money on them.
We would suggest being more thoughtful in choosing which low-calorie items to offer. The whole point of a French fry is to submerge potatoes in oil and douse them in salt. You make it low fat and it seems like you’re taking away the thing that made you want the fry in the first place.
Maybe a veggie burger or turkey burger alternative instead? Maybe more frozen yogurt desserts? These things make more sense. Satisfries wasn’t even really a good name.