Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wendy's Bacon & Blue Burger

Wendy's new Bacon & Blue Burger has blue cheese crumbles and smoked bacon, with sautéed onions and steakhouse sauce.

"We've heard loud and clear that our customers love the new Applewood smoked bacon," says Ken Calwell, chief marketing officer for Wendy's. "This great bacon and real blue cheese crumbles takes the Bacon and Blue hamburger to a whole new level and offers gourmet taste for a value price."

The Bacon & Blue is available for a limited time and priced at $4.29.

The burger has 680 calories and 40 grams of fat. It proudly serves up 75% of your daily Saturated Fat intake (15 grams). Here are the complete nutritional facts:

I don't normally do this, but while I was checking to see if I could add this burger to our HFCS-free Fast Food list, I couldn't help but notice the rather extensive list of ingredients, so I decided to include them ALL right here. Seems like a lot... even for a 'fancy' burger! By the way, 3 elements of the burger have High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), the bun, the Creamy Steakhouse Spread and the ketchup; the mayonnaise just has regular corn syrup. Okay, here's all the parts of the burger and their respective ingredients...

Premium Bun
Enriched Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, niacin, iron, folic acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Soy and/or Canola Oil, Wheat Gluten, Contains 2% or less of the following: Salt, Dough Conditioners (contains one or more of the following: sodium stearoyl lactylate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono and diglycerides, DATEM, calcium peroxide, calcium sulfate, L-cysteine, enzymes), Yeast Nutrients (contains one or more of the following: ammonium sulfate, tricalcium phosphate, ammonium chloride), Modified Food Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Wheat Starch, Maltodextrin, Gum Arabic, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Propionate (preservative). Topped with Yellow Corn Meal. CONTAINS: WHEAT.

Hamburger Patty
Ground Beef. Seasoned with Salt.

Tomatoes, 1-2 slices


Applewood Smoked Bacon, 4 Strips
Pork Cured With: Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

Creamy Steakhouse Spread
Soybean Oil, Water, Blue Cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Egg Yolk, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Spices, Garlic (dehydrated), Onion (dehydrated), Shallots (dehydrated), Mustard Seed, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (preservatives), Glucono Delta Lactone, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect flavor). CONTAINS: EGG, MILK

Seasoned Sauteed Onions
Sauteed Yellow Onions (yellow onion, sea salt, maltodextrin, evaporated cane juice, potassium chloride, fractionated coconut oil, caramel color, spices, natural flavor, extra virgin olive oil, citric acid, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate), Onion Seasoning (maltodextrin, salt, autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavors, spice, garlic powder, onion powder, artificial flavors, less than 2% of each of the following: silicon dioxide and sunflower oil [processing aids]).

Real Blue Cheese Crumbles
Blue Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, mold, natamycin), Powdered Cellulose (to prevent caking). CONTAINS: MILK

Water, Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup, Egg Yolk, Modified Corn Starch, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Spice, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (preservatives), Natural Flavor, Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect taste), Yellow 5 and 6. CONTAINS: EGG.

Dill Pickles (4)
Cucumbers, Water, Vinegar, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Alum, Natural Flavors, Polysorbate 80, Yellow 5, Blue 1.

Tomato Concentrate (made from red ripe tomatoes), Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring.

Water, Distilled Vinegar, Mustard Seed, Salt, Turmeric (color), Paprika, Spice.

Onion (4 rings)

American Cheese Slice
Cultured Milk, Water, Cream, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid (preservative), Artificial Color, Enzymes, Soy Lecithin. CONTAINS: MILK, SOY.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fast Food Solutions for Lent

Happy Mardi Gras!

I hope you celebrate Fat Tuesday in true fast food style today, but Mardi Gras, of course, also marks the beginning of Lent tomorrow.  And some fast food chains have dining solutions available for those observing Lent.

Lenten season menu items and specials include:
  • Long John Silver's is, of course, a perennial go-to solution during Lent.  They are currently launching their new Crispy Breaded Pollock with the supporting Spin & Win Fish Fry online sweepstakes.
  • Captain D's Seafood Kitchen has their new Butterfly Shrimp Dippers; the 15-piece meal is only $4.99.
  • Jack in the Box will be offering their Fish Sandwich for just $1.49 during Lent.  They also have 2 other fish products: Fish & Chips for $3.99 and the Fish Pita Snack for $1.99.
  • Dairy Queen has a Popcorn Shrimp Basket which includes fries, coleslaw and cocktail sauce.
  • A&W Restaurants has brought back their 21-piece Shrimp and Fries.

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Fast Food Study: Most Trusted Nutritional Claims

Dallas, Texas based research firm, Decision Analyst, Inc., has conducted a study of which fast food restaurants' nutritional claims are most trusted by consumers.

Their conclusion: More consumers trust Subway’s nutritional claims, compared to all other popular quick service restaurants. According to Decision Analyst, Subway is the leader in consumer trust with almost one-quarter (24.2%) of consumers saying they “completely trust” its nutritional claims.

The percentage of consumers that "completely trust" the nutritional claims of other fast food restaurants are as follows: Chick-fil-a: 12.1%, Quizno's: 11.1%, Wendy's: 10.5%, KFC: 8.4%, and Taco Bell: 7.5%.

The study also found that 42% of Subway customers choose Subway because it "has a good selection of healthy items," versus only 3% of Taco Bell customers choosing Taco Bell for that reason.

Diane Brewton, Senior Vice President of the Market Intelligence Division at Decision Analyst, states the studies conclusion:
“Subway owns the nutritional claim relative to its competition, as there is a significant gap between Subway and these other popular fast food/quick-service restaurants. In fact, Subway is the only one of these restaurants with more people who ‘completely trust’ their nutritional claims than ’do not trust’ them. This finding illustrates the challenges and opportunities facing restaurants in their quest to gain greater acceptance of their health and nutrition efforts."

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Anatomy of McDonald's Mac Snack Wrap

Why didn't I think of that?!?! Take a Big Mac, lose the bun and wrap it all up in a tortilla. Of course... makes perfect sense!

Honestly, if someone had suggested that 10 years ago, they'd have been laughed out of the room. But that was before the wrap craze. The question now is: With the Mac Snack Wrap, has the 'wrap craze' officially jumped the shark?

Well, I had to taste this for myself... And it is exactly what you'd expect a Big Mac components wrapped up in a tortilla would taste like! If you're a Big Mac fan, but you've always dreamed of losing all those buns, you're dream has come true. If you didn't love the Big Mac, you probably won't like the Mac Snack Wrap. Actually, the one I got had way too much 'Big Mac Sauce' for my taste, but otherwise, no complaints.

The Mac Snack Wrap is 1/2 of a 1/4 pound beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, pickle, onion and Big Mac sauce (aka 1,000 Island Dressing, aka mayonnaise & ketchup) all wrapped up in a tortilla.

See, I took a picture, The Anatomy of a Mac Snack Wrap:

Another important distinction that McDonald's is attempting to make between the Big Mac and the Mac Snack Wrap (besides the bun vs. tortilla) is that the latter is a "snack," and the Big Mac is a meal. And clearly the wrap has less meat, specifically half a Quarter Pounder patty. It should be noted, though, that a full Quarter Pounder patty is bigger than a Big Mac beef patty, 220 calories vs. 180 calories.

Here's the nutritional data for the Mac Snack Wrap:

And here's the nutritional data for the Big Mac:

As you can see the Mac Snack Wrap has 330 calories to the Big Mac's 540. That's 60% of the Big Mac's calories. 70 calories are lost by replacing the buns with a tortilla (140 vs. 210) and another 70 calories are lost by using less meat (110 vs. 180). But the Mac Snack Wrap has more calories than a McDonald's Cheeseburger (300 calories), so is it really just a snack.

Find out for yourself!!! The first 10 people to e-mail me at with their snail mail address will receive a certificate for a free Mac Snack Wrap!!

You're address will be used strictly for this promotion, not shared with anyone and deleted after your certificate is mailed. It will be noted here when all 10 certificates have been given away.

Congratulations to Doug, Jessica, Briana, Ted, Robert, Sarah, Michael, Heather, Montgomery, and Jorge... they'll all be getting a certificate for a free Mac Snack Wrap from McDonalds!

[Disclosure: 10 certificates for a free Mac Snack Wrap were supplied to me and Fast Food News by McDonald's for use in this promotion. I paid for the Mac Snack Wrap that I ate. :)]

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