Why Isn’t McDonald’s Ketchup ‘Fancy’ Anymore?
I'll be honest with you, I haven't eaten at McDonald's in a long time. Like, a really long time. But today, because I feel a little under the weather with the Texas Cedar Fever and pollen blooms, I decided to be lazy and let McD's prep my lunch for me.
I've always been a simple food guy. Even in my youth I never had a taste for what McDonald's suggests is a burger, I've always been a chicken nugget fan.
Sure, they're extremely salty but you can't beat that crunchy battered piece of whatever part of the chicken it really is. And don't even get me started on the excitement I always feel when I open a ten-piece to discover eleven in the box.
My liking of these salty chicken nuggies hasn't been without shenanigans. It took me a long time to realize how weird this seems to most people, but I've always preferred my nuggets dipped in ketchup.
Not honey mustard... not bbq... occasionally honey... but always in McDonald's signature "Fancy" ketchup... but as I found out today, McDonald's signature ketchup is no longer "fancy."
Now I'll be honest with you, like a lot of people, I always thought "Fancy" was the name of the brand... and as I found out with a quick search, that is wrong.
According to the USDA, "fancy" is a quality designation that signifies a better version of your average, run-of-the-mill, regular old ketchup.
Did you know ketchup has grades like wine? USDA Grade-A is Fancy, Grade-B is standard, Grade-C is also standard, but it all has to do with how much tomato is actually in the mix. To be a fancy ketchup, the sauce only has to be about a third tomato.
It's like the difference between regular engine oil and fully synthetic... They're essentially the same, one is just refined to a higher level.
As it turns out, the "fancy" ketchup designation wasn't McDonald's anyway. It belonged to Heinz, who made McD's ketchup until 2013.
So who makes the ketchup now? McDonald's makes their own... at least that's what my googling shows. Given that McDonald's probably gives away more ketchup than any other company sells, it was probably a move that saved a percent of one cent per little bag, and the cumulative effect meant saving a million dollars or something ridiculous like that in the fiscal year company-wide.
All the same, when McDonald's first started manufacturing their own ketchup in 2013, it remained a "fancy" grade of the product... but as every Wall Street owned corporate giant does eventually, they cut that manufacturing process back for a lower grade of product to squeeze out even more profit.
Can you tell a difference in the taste? Probably not. Tomato, sugar, salt, it's all the same until you start flirting with the catsup from the New England area. That's not ketchup and it has no place on store shelves in this part of the country.