McDonald's Still Has the Best Fries in the Biz, New Survey Says
If you asked a fast-food lover about their absolute favorite french fries, there's a pretty big chance they'd point toward McDonald's. While there are some who would give that coveted title to rivals like Wendy's or Arby's, many consumers agree that it doesn't get much better than the nostalgic, golden fries from the iconic Golden Arches. McDonald's signature salty side dish even claimed the #1 spot in our own ranking of the best fast-food fries in America.
Considering all the hype around McDonald's fries, it should come as no surprise that they once again stole the crown in newly-released data about the most popular french fries in America.
Consumer analytics platform CivicScience shared findings from a brand-new poll this week that asked over 7,000 consumers about their preferred fast-food fries. Half of the respondents chose McDonald's fries as their favorite, making the chain the "runaway winner" among adults who eat fast food, CivicScience said.
The five other major fast-food chains considered in the poll—Wendy's, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, KFC, and Arby's—didn't even come close to McDonald's. Wendy's fries were the favorite among the second-highest share of poll respondents, 15%, while Chick-fil-A was close behind at 14%. Meanwhile, 11% of respondents chose Burger King's fries as their favorite, while 9% and 2% chose the fries from Arby's and KFC, respectively.
So what is it about McDonald's fries that makes them so preferred among consumers? Aside from the undeniable pull of deep-fried, salty potatoes, it's the texture. Many fans praise the fact that they're slightly crispy on the outside, but still soft in the middle. And when McDonald's fries are fresh and hot out of the fryer, customers say they're completely unmatched.
There's a reason for this optimal texture. McDonald's says that it commonly uses Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and Shepody potatoes, "varieties known for producing a flavorful fry that's crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside."
Another way that McDonald's sets itself apart from competitors is a not-so-secret ingredient in its frying oil meant to boost flavor. Though McDonald's no longer uses beef tallow in its cooking oil, the chain has confirmed that its current oil blend does include beef flavoring.
While the popularity of McDonald's French fries is undeniable, a fact underscored by the new Civic Science poll, customers haven't been shelling out for the classic side dish as much in recent months. The fast-food giant had a successful first quarter of 2023 and beat expectations on earnings and revenue, but the company said that customers were cutting back on adding items like fries to their McDonald's orders. The drop in fry orders did not surprise customers, many of whom said they've become "outrageously overpriced."