You may have heard: McDonald’s announced today that they are bringing back their McRib sandwich. Hungry fans are delighted. The Facebook group called “Bring Back the McRib!!!” has everyone marking their calendars for November 2 when the sandwich makes its debut (again). There is even a website called the McRib Locator where devout barbecue pork followers can report McRib sightings. But despite all the hype surrounding this boneless “meat” strangely shaped like ribs, I gotta say, we’re not lovin’ it. And not just because it’s ridiculously unhealthy.
Here’s the thing. When something–anything–makes a reappearance into the marketplace, this is typically a good opportunity for it to come back better than before. You know, the “new and improved” scenario (which, by the way, works wonders for other foods who tout “reduced fat”, “fewer calories”, “lower sodium” even though we don’t always know what they’re being compared against).
In the case of the McRib and in the case of our ever-expanding waistlines, this could have been the perfect opportunity to ditch some of the 500 calories and 26 grams of fat (only slightly less than the Big Mac, by the way, which has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat), which has you consuming one-quarter of your recommended calories and more than 50% of your recommended fat in one sitting–and this is before adding fries and a drink. It also contains a whopping 980 mg of sodium–more than 40% of our daily value. Maybe, just maybe, if McDonald’s tried hard enough, they could have found a way to make this sandwich a bit healthier without offending its devoted McRibbers.
They did it with their Happy Meals, which you can order with a side of apple dippers (with low-fat caramel) instead of fries and low-fat milk or fruit juice instead of soda. And their fries are now made in a healthier canola-blend oil. They also offer healthy wraps and salads, and get big props for spelling out the nutritional content of their food on the back of their tray liners.
But when it comes to the McRib, McDonald’s is making no bones about sticking to the tried and true sandwich.
“Bringing it back every so often adds to the excitement,” said Marta Fearon, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director.
Sigh. Let’s just hope next year when it makes yet another comeback, McDonald’s takes the opportunity for a nutritional makeover. In the mean time, see what we learned is really in this “meat”.