McDonald’s is introducing brand new burgers, and millennials are apparently to blame.
The burgers, part of McDonald’s line of Signature Crafted sandwiches, will now feature two unusual ingredients: Sriracha Mac sauce and baby kale.
Yes, that’s right. For the first time, McDonald’s will sell a kale burger.
“McDonald’s is taking a different approach to lettuce by adding premium greens to its signature sandwiches,” reads a page on the company’s website. “Baby kale and baby spinach were chosen specifically to balance out the spicy sauce while serving as the perfect partner to accompany the other savory ingredients of white cheddar cheese, onions, and tomato.”
The chain will introduce the burgers at locations around the United States. Signature Crafted sandwiches sell for around $5, although prices vary by location. Diners first choose a protein (a quarter-pound beef patty, buttermilk crispy chicken, or grilled chicken), then their meat is dressed with the other ingredients.
Some people seemed offended at the idea of a McDonald’s kale burger.
While nobody is complaining about the Sriracha Mac sauce—after all, sriracha is incredible—the addition of kale has raised some eyebrows.
Others blamed the millennial generation for driving demand. Health site Well And Good referred to the sandwiches as an attempt at “a fresh, healthy, millennial-motivated option.” The site applauded the addition of kale as a “step in a positive direction for the fast food industry,” but noted that the vegetable doesn’t cancel out the sandwich’s hefty caloric load.
NBC’s Today Show was a bit less forgiving:
“If you’re watching your diet—or just a millennial hipster—chances are you’ve been eating a lot of kale lately,” wrote Aly Walansky for Today, who called the burger “confusing” and recommended making a salad instead.
In any case, McDonald’s tested the new Signature Crafted burger regionally before launching it nationally, so consumers must have responded positively to the recipe.
We doubt that the chain is trying to position this burger as a healthy option; it’s more likely an attempt at creating a deluxe product to compete with similar offerings from Carl’s Jr., Five Guys, and other premium fast food chains.
Carl’s Jr. introduced a Super Kale Thickburger in 2015, but the sandwich—which didn’t contain any meat whatsoever—turned out to be an April Fool’s Day joke.
Awkwardly, McDonald’s ran an anti-kale ad in 2015.
The spot featured the words “Will Never Be Kale” over a shot of the Big Mac’s lettuce. That was before CEO Steve Easterbrook took over the company, but the “Unapologetic Big Mac” campaign didn’t pull any punches.
Aimed squarely at offending “vegetarians, foodies, and gastronauts,” the ad featured slow shots of McDonald’s famous sandwich with voice bragging that “you can’t get juiciness like this from soy or quinoa…this is not Greek yogurt, nor will that ever be kale.”
Perhaps soy and quinoa will be the next additions to the McDonald’s menu.