Struggling to avoid the crunchy satisfaction of fast-food French fries as part of your low-calorie diet? Well, have no fear, Burger King is here. The fast-food chain is offering ‘Satisfries,’a lower-calorie French fry option. But, while it does have less calories, is it really healthier than normal fries?
"It's actually not an easy thing to do to because consumers want the same taste and the same texture," said Maureen Storey, CEO of the Alliance for Potato Research & Education.
According to the Associated Press, a small order of Satisfries has about 270 calories in it. A small order of normal fries has about 340 calories in it. Burger King says that in order to keep the taste of a normal French fry, but also reduce the calories, it relied on using the same ingredients in different portions. The company was not specific about what it did, likely in the interest of maintaining some mystery for its competitors. Burger King did say that lowering the number of calories had to do with blocking the amount of oil in the fries.
With the same, redistributed ingredients as a normal fry, the Satisfry — while great for Burger King’s marketing strategy — offers the same low nutritional value as other French fries. The idea for those on low-calorie diets is to swap out high-calorie/low-nutritional value foods for low-calorie/high-nutritional value foods. Burger King hit the mark by reducing the calories, but didn’t do as well when it came to increasing the fries’ nutritional value.
“If you think about restaurant innovation this year, it has largely focused on buns: pretzel buns for hot dogs and burgers, which pump up the price to the consumer for this new taste-bud experience,” said Brian Sozzi, CEO of Belus Capital Advisors. “But the bottom line is this: the Satisfry — which still uses the word 'fry,' so the consumer should know it’s not healthy — is still a fried product."
"The catch now is that Burger King has just created a higher margin item that could, believe it or not, be marketed to those focused on watching their weight. They’re telling the workout enthusiast, ‘if you’re going to cheat on a Sunday, cheat with us, not the local pizza place.’”
In essence, a fry by any other name is still a fry.