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Burger King Adds
Apple ‘Fries’ As Part Of Healthier Kids Meal Program

Burger King has joined the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, which basically means it agrees to promote healthy eating to children under 12 years of age:

As part of its Advertising Commitment, Burger King Corp. developed a strict set of Nutrition Guidelines that it will follow with respect to the food and beverage products it advertises to children under 12 years old. By December 2008, such advertising will be limited to Kids Meals that provide:

  • No more than 560 calories per meal
  • Less than 30 percent of calories from fat
  • Less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat
  • No added trans fats
  • No more than 10 percent of calories from added sugars

These stringent nutritional standards are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and other scientifically established dietary recommendations. A Kids Meal that will meet the criteria is currently in development and will be available in restaurants some time in 2008.

The new Kids Meal is planned to include Flame Broiled CHICKEN TENDERS® (4 piece), MOTT’S® Organic Unsweetened Apple Sauce, and HERSHEY’®S 1% Low Fat Milk. Other innovative products are also in development including BK™ Fresh Apple Fries, fresh-cut red apples sliced to resemble real fries served in a FRYPOD™.

The sex appeal to go along with this announcement was the planned introduction of BK™ Fresh Apple Fries, which are basically red apples, peeled, and then cut in the shape of French fries and served in the same container used to hold French fries.

The announcement got media everywhere and most seemed favorable to the idea, as did Burger King:

“We think kids will flock to it,” said Burger King spokesman Keva Silversmith. To devise the product, Burger King developed a proprietary cutting process that makes apple slices look like fries. Then they’re washed in water with lemon, to keep from turning brown.

It is a nice idea. The JR. Pundits love McDonald’s Apple Dippers — also peeled apple pieces — and, in this case, the French fry-like packaging may let parents hold off younger children from trying French fries. Once they get older, though, as Advertising Age pointed out:

Mr. Silversmith said that Burger King has made the changes in response to moms who want more healthful options for their children when they come into the store.

Persuading children to eat apple slices instead of french fries, however, is going to be the parents’ problem.

We are all in favor of the new product. The biggest problem with McDonald’s Apple Dippers is they frequently run out of them — telling us there is sufficient shelf life concern to lead to under-ordering.

Just the other day at a McDonald’s, the Jr. Pundits were offered two bags of free cookies when it ran out of the apple dippers. The boys rejected them, loudly, explaining they preferred Apple Dippers. Yeah for the boys!

Yet while we are sure the product will be good, we suspect it is not a satisfactory replacement for French fries.

French fries are savory and apple slices are sweet — they serve a different function in a meal. So if it wants more than to just be able to say “we have healthy things on the menu,” Burger King needs to come up with an alternative that fulfills the same function in the meal, not just one that looks similar.

Still, more produce out there can’t hurt and a more healthy option is a good thing. It will be interesting to see the sales figures.

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