French fries aren’t exactly health food, but Burger King says that their new Satisfries are at least healthier than their classic fries … and McDonald’s.
The crinkle-cut fries debuting today have 30 percent less fat and 20 percent fewer calories than the fast-food chain’s current fries, and 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than the McDonald’s version. Early partakers said the taste is similar — not surprising, since the ingredients are the same. BK reconfigured the recipe so the new version doesn’t absorb as much fat during the frying process.
“It’s not realistic to ask people to replace french fries with carrots or celery sticks,” Keri Gans, a registered dietitian hired by Burger King, told USA Today. “This is like meeting people halfway.”
The move is one response to the pressure fast food restaurants are feeling from consumer groups (and looking ahead to 2014, when restaurant chains will be required to post calorie counts on their menus). Most chains offer healthier alternatives in the form of grilled chicken or salads, but it’s become clear that most customers don’t head to a drive-through for the kale.
“We know that attitudes are changing and our consumers are becoming more mindful of the foods that they eat. But changing attitudes is much different than changing behavior. We have seen time and time again that consumers don’t want to sacrifice the foods that they love,” Burger King’s North American CMO Eric Hirschhorn told Time. “We set out to introduce a great tasting french fry with all the french fry attributes that people expect — crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.”
The new fries cost 20-30 cents more per individual serving. Kids’ meals will cost the same.