Whenever McDonald’s makes changes to a classic menu item, people tend to freak out and take things to the extreme.
The perfect example is the reaction to McDonald’s new apple pie recipe, which sports a significantly smaller ingredient list.
The wording of the McDonald’s press release was pretty genius and comical, as they managed to convince the food world that their apple pies were somehow healthier, without ever saying that they were. By nutrient content claim regulations, McDonald’s can’t call their baked apple pie healthy anyway.
Yet, they’ve managed to dupe sites such as Delish, who wrote that McDonald’s “announced that they are revamping the apple pie recipe in an effort to make it healthier,” and even Insider who reported there is “less sugar,” when in fact, there are actually three more grams than the old pies.
Using terms like, “positive changes,” and never really highlighting specific nutritional changes, McDonald’s made sure to let you know that something changed, but didn’t get too specific about it.
“Our new freshly baked apple pie recipe is in line with other positive changes we have made,” McDonald’s spokesperson Tiffany Briggs, said. “We removed, for example, artificial preservatives from our Chicken McNuggets and switched to real butter in our breakfast sandwiches because those changes matter to our guests.”
The most noticeable change in the ingredients list, is the replacement of high fructose corn syrup with apple juice concentrate, which means they replaced sugar with sugar.
So when the press release said, “…our new apple pie is made with fewer ingredients such as sugar,” it’s totally true. They did get rid of a sugar ingredient, but put another one in its place.
The statement doesn’t necessarily mean the pies now have a better source of sugar, or even less sugar. In fact, when looking at their old nutrition label, the sugar content actually increased. The new recipe for the pies has 16 grams of sugar, while the older recipe had only 13 grams.
They did get rid of a lot of ingredients, however, as sorbitol, dextrose, brown sugar, apple powder from dehydrated apples, sodium alginate, spice, trisodium citrate, dicalcium phosphate, “natural and artificial flavors,” soy lecithin, yeast extract, enzyme, and coloring; are all gone. There was only 2 percent or less of each of those ingredients to begin with, but it’s still something.
The pie does seem to have a handful of less calories, but not a significant amount. The listed number of calories for the old apple pie was 248, while the new ones have 240 calories.
The only real difference is that the label looks a little cleaner.
And I guess the new lattice top looks cool. Even then, the lattice tops create the illusion of less crust, but the carbohydrate content is about the same.
This style of pie had been tested in California for over a year, and per usual, customers weren’t very receptive to the change, voicing their opinions on Twitter.
After a personal taste test, for the sake of research, the new pie didn’t taste as sweet, maybe because of the lack of brown sugar. Even then, the taste was pretty comparable to the old, so there’s a good chance the angry customers typing away on Twitter and news outlets, haven’t even tried the pie yet.
As McDonald’s tries to create the illusion of health, this new apple pie isn’t its best effort, but that might be a good thing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Instead, fix your ice cream machines.