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You Might’ve Noticed That McDonald’s Apple Pies Taste a Little Different

The fast-food giant is trying to shake off their unhealthy reputation, one dessert at a time.

America’s largest fast-food giant might be renowned for staple menu items like the Big Mac or their classic fries, but do you ever stay for dessert? Apparently, there’s a huge following behind McDonald’s pies, which became obvious shortly after word got out about the mega chain’s apple pie undergoing a healthier makeover.

Mickey D’s announced in September that they would be revamping their iconic apple pie. Devoted fans were not happy about the changes, with angry tweets about the product’s different look and taste swarming the Internet. The new recipe, was, in fact, a positive change led by Bama Companies, aka the masterminds behind McDonald’s pie production. The company recently shared information on just how the pies are made and what’s changed, and it’s an interesting look into how this humble apple pie got a more health-conscious upgrade.

But before we dive into what ingredients were swapped out, let’s take a quick glance at how the pie has evolved since its inception at McDonald’s.

When were the pies first introduced to the menu?

McDonald’s introduced its first dessert to the menu in 1968, which was none other than the sweet apple pie. The original version of the beloved sweet treat was deep-fried and served to patrons in a cardboard sleeve. Since its debut, the McDonald’s apple pie has taken on more than 40 variations, with changes made to its fillings, the way it’s baked, and even the design on the top of the pastry.

Who is Bama Companies, and how did they make the pies healthier?

Bama Companies—based out of Tulsa, Okla.—has been in business with McDonald’s for more than 50 years, and today, they are the sole producers of McDonald’s pies. For perspective, Bama whips up about 2 million of these little-baked delights per day and distributes them to all 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. They are also credited with making biscuits and hotcakes, other staples from the Golden Arches’ breakfast menu.

To revitalize the apple pie and make it healthier, the company stripped the product of artificial colors, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup. The new recipe ultimately contains less sugar and ingredients and instead emphasizes cinnamon in its filling for natural flavor. The pie also has a lattice top—instead of a layer of sugar and cinnamon topping—and overall, it has a larger ratio of fresh fruit. Note: while the predominant ingredients of each 240-calorie pie are apples, cinnamon, and sugar, it does still include a type of liquid, which is likely a syrup of sorts. But hey, baby steps, right?

What prompted the change?

In an interview with Tulsa World, Paula Marshall, CEO of Bama, explained that the change in the recipe was inspired by McDonald’s yearning to improve its customers’ perception of the kinds of foods they are ultimately being served by the fast-food chain.

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“Anything that has the word artificial in front of it or some name that you can’t spell or pronounce that most consumers don’t recognize, that really concerns them,” Marshall said. “(Customers say), ‘That’s in my food? I don’t know where it came from. I don’t want to eat that.'”

Sounds like the right move to us.

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