Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Now that McDonald's doesn't supersize anymore do the customers just eat less, or do they order an extra order of fries?

Asked by JLeslie (47510 points ) September 12th, 2012

Does anyone know? Tony Danza was just on the Joy Behar show and he was saying he agrees with Bloomberg wanting to limit soda size, because he thinks people eat and drink more if it is in front of them. I think he has a good point, even though I was not fond of Bloomberg’s idea, I see both sides.

But, this Q is not about Bloomberg and NYC, it is a simple curiousity if anyone knows of any studies done or statistics offered by McDonald’s about what consumers did after the change.

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27 Answers

Symbeline's avatar

Although McDonald’s is big, I don’t think one franchise’s minor decision is going to stop people from overeating if they truly wish to.

creative1's avatar

The problem with McDonald’s and other fast food chains they have found the addictive quality of sugar and put it in everything they serve meaning that they addict the people who eat it to want more and more and if someone is that addcited to it that they are obese then they will order the extra fries get their fix.

Symbeline's avatar

This isn’t so related, a bit off topic, but @creative1 reminded me of something. I know this guy who worked at McDick’s, and he said they put anti vomit in the drinks. Is this true? O_o

creative1's avatar

@Symbeline I worked there as a teen and no they don’t put anti vomit in the drinks, the soda tanks along with the co2 come directly from coca cola. Working there is how I know about all the sugar in their food. They even spray the salad mix for the salads with sugar water. The buns are made with sugar and when they toast them they really call it carmelizing the buns since ther eis so much sugar them they caramlize, there is sugar in the fries so they get that golden color.

Symbeline's avatar

@creative1 So that dude was just bullshittin me then? Seems to be a big rumor online, but what you say makes sense; big places like that don’t have a choice but to order things in bulk; like soda. Which I imagine is ready for use as soon as it’s set up?
Whatever the case, thinking about it carefully…I can’t believe I fell for that. If their food was that hardcore that it made you puke, we’d know for sure, since a lot of people order just the food and no soda. :/ Thanks for the info.

Bellatrix's avatar

I’ve never been to the US so I am purely drawing on things I have been told here. I have been told meals served in restaurants generally are quite large in the US. I have had people say you could pretty much buy one meal for two often. I don’t know if this is true but if it is, reducing the size of Macca’s meals is just part of the problem and I doubt it would lead to people eating less overall.

I would be interested whether the ‘big meals’ things is an urban myth or there is truth in this suggestion?

JLeslie's avatar

I am not talking about eating less overall, I am asking about eating less at McDonald’s. Here is a link about super size.

Bellatrix's avatar

I see what you mean. Sorry read it wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bellatrix It wasn’t just you, there were other answers not really addressing the question. I don’t mind if people go off on some tangents, or even make a guess at what they assume has happened, but I had the feeling my question wasn’t clear and that I should clarify.

WestRiverrat's avatar

People order more, instead of just getting one supersized meal, they will add an extra sandwich and or a dessert to the order.

BTW You can still get the supersized meals in many locations, they just don’t advertise them any more.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@WestRiverrat Do you mind my asking how you know that people order more? I rarely go to one, much less with the same people. It just makes me curious how anyone could answer this question without working at a McDonalds and knowing the ordering habits of their regular customers. Plus, there have been times when someone from work did a Micky D’s run to pick up food for more than one person.

WestRiverrat's avatar

McDonald’s is the only fast food in town, when you only have 30 minutes for meal breaks it gets visited a lot. I just interviewed my coworkers habits to see how they changed if at all.

Truthfully I wouldn’t have thought about it at all until my Little Brother had a social studies or personal living skills assignment on the subject.

augustlan's avatar

Just a guess, but I would assume that if someone is really that hungry, they’d just order an additional small fry or sandwich. As for the drinks, though, I can’t imagine anyone ordering two because the large isn’t large enough. I’ve never seen anyone order two drinks (for one person) in a fast food place. Surely doesn’t mean they won’t drink an extra soda later, of course.

Seek's avatar

I will say one thing: Before I went vegetarian, I would take my son there once a week on $1.99 Happy Meal day. We’d each get a Happy Meal and eat for less than $5. A Happy Meal is just enough to fill me up – cheeseburger, extra pickles, small fries, diet Coke or unsweetened iced tea. It was pretty great.

THEN people started getting all up in arms about unhealthy happy meals, and they effing CHANGED it, throwing in half-rotten apple slices and this eensy, weensy little thing of fries that gets about six fries in it, and the entire lunch was ruined.

If I want an apple, I’ll eat an apple. Got a bowl of them on the kitchen table, and they’re fresh. If I’m going to McDonalds, I want my goddamn fries.

We don’t do happy meal day anymore.

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan I think you hit what the main question is, are they really that hungry. Or, just eating what is in front of them? When I was in college some friends of our were football pkayers and they would order an incredible amount of food. This is before supersizing. They were big guys, not fat, but tall, muscular, and they would order 12 tacos at taco bell for themselves, or two burgers from McDonald’s etc. But, I think most of America was just getting what seems to be a better value with the supersizing and stuffing themselves to the brim. They could have been given less food and been satisfied. But, that is just my guess, I have no idea what really might have happened.

I often would get the largest combo when I was with my husband because we share the fries, and even I have just settled on sharing the smaller size usually.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I didn’t realize there was no option now on the Happy Meal? I, in the past, would sometimes get a happy meal myself. I haven’t had the occassion to do it in years, so I don’t relly know what the Happy Meal is now. Funny, I would never eat apples from McDonald’s, or pre-cut from anywhere, because every apple I know goes brown once cut, so I figure those cut up apples must have something sprayed on them to stay white. I’d rather eat the french fries. That’s just what I think in my mind, I have no idea what they really do to the apples.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I think most people just put up with the “regular” serving size. The other few would buy an extra serving if they really desired it. But I definitely agree that you’re likely to eat more if the food or drink is in front of you. That’s why my sister and I always ask each other to get the freakin’ chocolate out of the room.

Coloma's avatar

I rarely go to a McDonalds and when I do I always get a small,plain burger and OJ. Rarely fries and never supersize, sooo, makes no dif. to me.
Now WHAT I would really be interested in is a cardiac study of the McDonalds Sparrows.
” It has been shown that 4th generation McDonalds sparrows are hatched with clogged arteries and prone to obesity which makes flying difficult.”
Good thing they only need to hop around in the bushes waiting for the falling fries.lol

Nullo's avatar

Most McDonald’s have a publically-accessible fountain. Small cup sizes will only mean that people get grumpy about making multiple trips for refills.
Chick Fil A, by contrast, permits unlimited refills of already-small cups but they do it for you. This adds a layer of complexity, making the task troublesome enough that you won’t go up more than a few times.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Yeah, in many locations it is just a matter of the fries, not the cup size, because you can refil easily. Although, possibly the cups are actually smaller now that they did away with supersize? I am not sure about that to be honest. I see people fill their cup to-go after eating, or if they took their food to-go to begin with, the cup size would matter. I think people are probably more likely to drink when they are thirsty, as opposed to people who will eat whatever is in front of them. Maybe not?

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I’ll typically get about three refills per meal. Which is why I only drink diet soda. XD

I’d like to see politicians getting out of the kitchen, frankly. Not because I trust in the self-restraint of my fellow Americans, but because it’s one more example of unnecessary government intrusion.
“No, you can’t eat that way, you have to eat THIS way!”

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo McDonald’s getting rid of supersize wasn’t a politician thing I don’t think. I believe it was a combination of the movie Supersize Me and law suits being brought against them trying to blame them for obesity.

I usually don’t refil at all, but I use very little ice, except for iced tea if it is room temperature to start and ice is expected as part of the chilling process. I defintely would never have a third glass of drink. Two at the most (one refill).

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I was referring more to the general trend rather than the specific example.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Oh. Did Bloomberg actually pass the law to control drink size in NYC? Or, was it just proposed, discussed, and then thrown out? Do you know?

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t follow the news, but the very fact that it was even brought up galls me. I recognize that there’s something of a public health crisis, but I don’t think that a pile of politicians are competent – or within their rights – to make decisions about how to handle it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I have mixed feelings. I lean more towards government not being able to control things like that, things regarding what or how much we eat. But then I also can see the argument to do something about it since government is responsible for public safety. Controlling portion sizes is more about controlling business than the individual. What I prefer along these lines is Bloomberg’s mandate for chain restaurants in NY to list calorie information. I think information for the consumer is good, and then let them make their own choice. In either scenerio the consumer can make their own choice in the end, but controlling the portion size sold is just a little to controlling for me.

downtide's avatar

I don’t think Supersize ever made it to the UK to begin with. I will sometimes go large just for the extra fries though. I only ever have tea or coffee in McD’s (or any other fast food outlet) anyway, because I don’t like pop. In KFC I always order 2 bags of fries because the portion sizes there are pathetically tiny – a medium bag of fries there is about the same size as kids fries in McD’s.

I think the idea of spraying sugar on the bread and fries is appalling though.

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