Good for you, Burger King! Way back in 2009, I lamented a sad trend in fast food restaurants: the transition from a standard, basic french fry to a seasoned, artificially-crispy abomination. Finally, someone is righting that wrong, and who would’ve expected it to be BK?!
With much press, pomp and circumstances, Burger King has rolled out SatisFries, 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than… wait, (squinting at the fine print) this can’t be right… McDonald’s?! I am not disputing the number, I just find it interesting that the fine print has the comparison with the competition, rather than against their own staple. I guess some marketing genius decided not to highlight the fact that they still offer a more fattening fry on the regular Burger King menu. So let’s see how SatisFries compare with the Burger King french fry.
Well, tastewise, it turned out to be easier to compare than I expected, since they mixed in some regular fries in my SatisFries order. Dang! I am not getting my full caloric savings with a trick like that! First off, kudos for being crinkle cut. A much neglected but highly ketchup-friendly shape. I found the fry to be light and flaky, crispy but not artificial-tasting. The seasoning is about normal.
What about the claims? To repeat, 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than McDonald’s. Well I went to the websites and I did the math:
First off, Burger King does their comparison based upon a serving size of 70 grams. As you can see from the chart above, they were comparing their SatisFries with an equivalent small order of McDonald’s french fries. So I had to make some adjustments, which are represented in the right three columns. Basically, a VALUE order of SatisFries needs to be reduced by 18% to equal a SMALL order of McDonald’s fries. Making the adjustment, it is pretty much what Burger King claims.
But do you see the problem? You can’t order the equivalent to a McDonald’s small at Burger King. The closest you can get is the larger “value” size, but how many people actually do that? I bet most people think they are doing well to order a “small” which is actually MORE calories (270 vs 230) and the same amount of fat (11) as a McDonald’s “small.” Granted, it’s a bigger serving, but that has to be lost on the majority of consumers who probably stop at the word SMALL. And, as it turns out, a BK “small” is even bigger than a McDonald’s “medium.” Yikes.
Note that SatisFries have about 20% less fat and 21% fewer calories than a Burger King regular order. Not what is in the big text advertised, which again is compared with McDonald’s, but only in the fine print. So Joe Consumer, who walks into Burger King and thinks he is saving 40% of the fat by switching from a BK regular to BK SatisFries is only saving half that. Still good, but confusing at best.
Criticism of the advertising message aside, this is still a great move for Burger King. It’s sure to earn them credit in the health gesture alone. And I am happy to have a more flavorful, honest french fry choice at Burger King. Finally, extra points to Burger King for a clever product name too.