clear
Tuesday July 7th, 2015 10:20PM

Burger King launching lower-calorie french fry

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) Burger King wants people to feel less guilty about gobbling up its french fries.

The world's No. 2 hamburger chain launched a new crinkle-cut french fry on Tuesday that it says has about 20 percent fewer calories than its regular fries.

The chain says a small order of the new "Satisfries" clocks in at 270 calories because of a new batter that doesn't absorb as much oil. By comparison, a small order of its regular fries, sans crinkles, has 340 calories.

The concept of taking an indulgent food and removing some of the guilt isn't new, of course. Supermarkets are filled with baked Lay's potato chips, 100-calorie packs of Oreos and other less fattening versions of popular treats. Such creations play on people's inability to give up their food vices, even as they struggle to eat better. The idea is to create something that skimps on calories, but not on taste.

Burger King executives say people won't be able to tell that Satisfries are lower in calories. It says they use exactly the same ingredients as its regular fries potatoes, oil and batter. To keep kitchen operations simple, they're even made in the same fryers and cooked for the same amount of time as regular fries.

The difference, Burger King says, is that it adjusts the proportions of different ingredients for the batter to block out more oil. The company declined to be more specific. Another difference, the crinkle-cut shape, is in part so workers will be able to easily distinguish them from the regular fries when they're deep frying them together.

``You need to make things as simple as possible,'' says Eric Hirschhorn, Burger King's chief marketing officer.

As per capita consumption of french fries has declined over the years, frozen potato suppliers have been working on ways to reduce fat and calories in french fries, said Maureen Storey, president and CEO of the Alliance for Potato Research & Education, an industry group.

``It's actually not an easy thing to do to because consumers want the same taste and the same texture,'' she said.

Alex Macedo, head of North American operations at Burger King, said the chain worked with one of its potato suppliers, McCain Foods, to develop the lower-calorie fries. He said McCain can't sell the fries to other fast-food clients and that different suppliers might have a tough time imitating them.

Burger King took great pains to keep the launch of Satisfries under wraps. Last week, reporters were invited to preview a ``top secret new product'' at a New York City hotel, where they were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. Attendees were each served a carton of the fries that look and taste like any other fries, even leaving the familiar grease stains in their paper cartons.

Burger King led off its presentation by comparing the fries to the ``leading french fries,'' which are made by rival McDonald's, the world's largest burger chain. On a pound-for-pound basis, executives noted that the new fries have 30 percent fewer calories than those served at the Golden Arches.

The comparison to McDonald's may prove to be confusing for some, since fast-food chains each have their own definitions of what qualifies as a small, medium or large.

A small serving at McDonald's, for example, weighs considerably less than a small order at Burger King. As a result, a small order of McDonald's fries has 230 calories which is still less than the 270 calories for a small serving of Burger King's Satisfries. A ``value'' order of Satisfries at Burger King which is closer in weight to the small size at McDonald's has 190 calories.

Satisfries is the latest gambit by Burger King Worldwide Inc. to revive its image after a series of ownership changes in recent years. 3G Capital, the Brazilian private investment firm that bought the chain and took it private in 2010, kicked off a campaign last spring with a revamped menu and star-studded ad campaign.

The moves came just before 3G announced a deal to take Burger King public again. The deal was structured in a way that let 3G more than recoup the $3.26 billion it paid for the chain, while still maintaining a majority stake. Burger King's stock price is up 37 percent over the past year and trading close to $20 per share.

The company has continued to press ahead with new menu items in hopes of pushing up soft sales, but the efforts haven't yet yielded results. For its second quarter, sales at restaurants open at least a year slipped 0.5 percent in the U.S. and Canada, where it has about 7,200 locations. The metric is a key gauge of health because it strips out the volatility of newly opened and closed locations.

Still, Burger King is betting Satisfries will be so popular that people will even be willing to fork over more money for them. The suggested price for a small order of Satisfries is $1.89, compared with $1.59 for regular fries. That's a 19 percent markup.

© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
SC Senate OKs Confederate flag removal; House vote ahead
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate gave its final approval Tuesday to removing the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds, but across the hall in the House, Republicans quietly sought...
9:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
Senate, House look to update Bush-era education law
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is making another run at rewriting the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, even as the Obama administration urges changes it says would ensure that schools are held...
5:18PM ( 5 hours ago )
US job openings stay high, but actual hiring falters in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — Job openings stayed close to a 15-year high in May. It's a sign that companies are expecting continued economic growth, but the level of advertised jobs hasn't driven the same kind o...
12:46PM ( 9 hours ago )
Cosby said he got drugs to give women for sex
Bill Cosby testified in 2005 that he got Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with, and he admitted giving the sedative to at least one woman and "other people."
11:42PM ( 22 hours ago )
US stocks slip amid global sell-off after Greek 'no' vote
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks in the U.S. fell broadly following drops in overseas markets as Greeks voted to reject creditor conditions for more loans, but the losses weren't as steep as many had feared.Wit...
6:32PM ( 1 day ago )