RIGHTING THE WRONGS: McDonald’s Apple Pies

Have you ever seen misinformation being spread over the Internet? The same incorrect story gets repeated over and over again, and there’s little you can do about it. Oh sure, you can “reply to all” when someone sends you one of those “Bill Gates will give you $500 for forwarding this email!” emails… but when you see blogs and “reputable” websites repeat the same false story all the time, there’s not much you can do… other than get your own website and try to set the story straight. This is what I want to do with McDonalds’ apple pies. There’s so much misinformation out there about them, and the truth of it needs to be set free.

For years, McDonald’s sold fried apple pies in its restaurants. In fact, they still do in many overseas locations. However, in 1992 the company switched to a baked apple pie at all of its US locations.

The reason(s) for the switch have been fodder for “Internet conspiracy theorists” ever since.

Some claim that several people were burned by the hot filling, leading California (or Texas or New York, depending on who’s telling the story) to “ban” the pies. And so, because California (or Texas or New York) banned the pies, McDonalds opted to simply replace them nationwide for supply-chain reasons. After all, it wouldn’t make a lot of financial sense to make 1 type of pie for California (or Texas or New York) and another type for the other 49 states.

Others claim that California (or Texas or New York) banned them for health reasons. But why the company would be “banned” from selling fried apple pies, but not from selling Big Macs or Quarter Pounders remains unexplained.

The truth of the matter is that baked apple pies last much longer in the “holding oven” than their fried counterparts. The fried apple pies only lasted around 30 minutes in the holding oven, while the new baked pies can last for up to 2 hours. This leads to less waste, which has saved McDonald’s millions in the 15 years it’s been baking pies instead of frying them. And that’s what the switch was all about, really: saving money. That the new baked pies are perceived as healthier didn’t hurt the decision-making process at McDonald’s headquarters, either. In reality, though, the baked pies are not much healthier than the fried ones. When people want pie, they want a nice flaky crust. To get that crust, you need to mix shortening and flour. And in doing that, you get fat in the product. So they’re not much healthier than the fried pies, and to me they don’t taste as good… but they’re still pretty awesome!

Here’s what you need to take away from this article:

  1. McDonalds’ apple pies were never “banned” by any government agency anywhere in the United States.
  2. McDonalds switched to the baked pies because they last longer in the holding oven, thus reducing waste and saving the company money.
  3. The fact that the new baked pies were thought of as “healthier” probably influenced the decision to switch over, but it was not the sole factor in that decision.
  4. The baked pies aren’t that much better for you than the fried ones.

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