Food and Nutrition

Wendy's New 'Natural' French Fries: More Calories, Salt

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The fast food chain Wendy's has never really been known for its french fries. But that could all change now that it is overhauling its fries to be more "real."

Starting Thursday, Wendy's fries will be made out of Russett potatoes, with some skin left on and sprinkled with sea salt. It's part of a strategy to offer more natural ingredients.

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"We want every ingredient to be a simple ingredient, to be one you can pronounce and one your grandmother would recognize in her pantry," said Chief Marketing Officer Ken Calwell.

The new fries are slightly slimmer than the old ones, and crispier because they're smaller. They will also have more salt and calories. They will also be fried in a different blend of vegetable oils.

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Wendy's said the fries have been testing well in several markets over the past few months. The chain thinks people want more natural foods and they want to know where those foods come from. Having the skin on is a way to remind people that fries come from potatoes, Calwell said.

While maybe not a bad idea, experts wonder if this will drive new business to Wendy's. Joscelyn MacKay, a securities analyst with Morningstar, believes Wendy's is better known for its fresh, never frozen beef rather than its fries. She said fries are more of an afterthought at Wendy's.

This is the first major overhaul of french fries at Wendy's in 41 years.