The Big Reason Why McDonald’s Changed Their Fries Recipe

The Big Reason Why McDonald’s Changed Their Fries Recipe

Nothing can quite compare to the deliciously thin, crispy, golden fries from McDonald’s. In fact, when it comes to fries, the golden arch pretty much has every other fast food chain beat.

Even if you’re trying to eliminate those troublesome carbs from your diet, you will not be able to resist sliding a fry out of the famous red cardboard box.

You probably think they can’t get much better, right? Well, you’re wrong, as they used to be tastier than the fries we know and love today.

The 1990s

If you enjoyed a McDonald’s or twelve back in the 1990s, you may remember how tasty the fries used to be. In fact, you might even tell your kids they used to taste so much better than they do today.

Well, what they might lack in their original flavor, they may make up for in their health benefits. While we are in no way suggesting you should take up the fry diet, you might be happy to learn the fries might be better for your body.

The fast food giant chose to change its recipe twenty-seven years ago when they stopped cooking their potatoes in beef tallow and replaced it with vegetable oil.

So, why did McDonald’s feel the need to change its recipe? Well, it’s all down to one man: Phil Sokolov.
The American entrepreneur experienced a heart attack way back in 1966, when he was 43 years old. After enjoying various McDonald’s meals over the years, he later blamed the beef tallow oil, which is basically rendered beef fat, for his poor health.
In fact, he felt so strongly that he invested millions of dollars into advertising to highlight that the much-loved fries were impacting American’s health.

Not only did he strongly believe the beef tallow was to blame, but his health scare caused him to found the National Heart Savers Association in 1985.

McDonald’s Response

Despite Phil Sokolov’s claims, McDonald’s believed their golden fries were no worse than any other fast food chains.

They were also adamant in their belief that they would never attempt to poison their customers, which would be bad business, of course.

Yet, Phil Sokolov was not deterred and ran a full-page, national advertisement to claim the fast food chain was selling poison.

With all eyes on McDonald’s, they had no other choice but to give in to the mounting pressure and swap the beef tallow for a healthier alternative.

The New Fries: Are They Better or Worse?

Phil Sokolov might have won the battle against McDonald’s, but did he win the war? Malcolm Gladwell doesn’t seem to think so.

In his podcast, Revisionist History, he talks about the oil swap and believes it is not a healthier option at all. If anything, it is probably worse for your health, in his opinion.

He stated:

“It turns out to be false that vegetable oil is healthier for you than beef tallow. So, not only did they destroy the French fry, they gave us something that was worse for us from a health perspective.

“So everything about it was a mistake. If they had any balls at all, they would turn around and say ‘we were wrong, and we’re going back to fries the old way.”

Also, the statistics do not lie. If beef tallow was to blame for the high rate of heart disease and cholesterol, the health problems would more than likely have tapered off after the “healthier” swap.

Vegetarian Friendly

Was the swap always inevitable? Probably. Now McDonald’s no longer uses beef tallow, they have gained a large number of vegetarian customers.

While you might be unhappy about the change to the fries’ recipe, you can trust vegetarians will be pleased about the cooking oil swap.

Plus, the swap hasn’t deterred customers from opting for the fries, as it continues to be one of the most popular items on the menu.

Do you remember the old recipe for the McDonald’s fries? Do you think they taste as good? Write a comment to state your preference or share this article to see what your friends think.