Food innovation is essential to the future of McDonald's, yet classic menu favorites still account for more than 75 percent of the company's sales around the world [source: McDonald's 2007 annual report]. The McDonald's french fry, which can trace its heritage all the way back to the original McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino, Calif., that introduced french fries in 1949, is the most classic menu item of them all. In 1967, Idaho-based Simplot Company, which developed frozen potato products, struck a deal with McDonald's to provide frozen french fries to the expanding fast-food chain. Today, every fry is frozen and then cooked on-site in oil.
The deep-fried potatoes got a bad rap in the 1980s when the public became concerned about the beef tallow, a medium rich in cholesterol, used to cook them. Since 1990, McDonald's has been cooking its fries in vegetable oil, and in 2008, switched to zero-trans-fat cooking oil. Despite these changes, which altered their trademark taste, McDonald's french fries remain eternally popular with our fast-food nation. The restaurant chain serves approximately 9 million pounds (4 million kilograms) of fries a day [source: McDonald's]. And in a 2007 Zagat survey, McDonald's fries acquired 63 percent of the vote, compared to just 10 percent each for runners-up Burger King and Wendy's.
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