Failure: Burger King Satisfries ;The challenges of selling health in an unhealthy category
Fast-food restaurants face pressure to respond to the health trend exerting so much influence on consumer attitudes and purchase behaviors. However, this poses a particular challenge for that foodservice channel with its close association with convenient, but generally unhealthy, products. This has led the big names to experiment in various ways with offering consumers alternatives on their menus that attempt to bridge the gap between convenience and health, with varying levels of success.
What consumers say and what they actually do are not always the same. Convincing people that they should eat healthier food and actually getting them to eat it are two different things. In the fast food context, consumers are looking for certain experiences and to meet certain needs that are often not aligned with health.
Consumers are generally unlikely to perceive French fries to be a healthy product, no matter what demonstrable claims are made. Furthermore, Burger King gave consumers a choice where selecting regular fries made more financial sense or simply not buying fries was the truly healthy option.
Burger King did not provide, through marketing or instore, an effective explanation to consumers of exactly how Satisfries were healthier that normal fries. The headline figures were presented prominently (40% less fat, 30% less calories), but no explanation was included of exactly how this was achieved.
This case study is part of Canadean's Successes and Failures research. It examines the details of and reasons behind the failure of Burger King's Satisfries, the business's reduced-calorie French fries product.
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