Benjamin Franklin once said, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." If that's true, then McDonald's has done its share over the years to keep its customers away from physicians. First came the deep-fried apple pie, which was meant to take customers back to the days of a homemade pie cooling on the windowsill. In 1992, after extensive consumer testing, the company phased out the fried apple pie and replaced it with a baked version.
Of course, the ingredients of a McDonald's apple pie include more than apples. You'll also find high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, shortening and caramel color. To appeal to consumers looking for a healthier alternative, the company launched its Apple Dippers product in 2004. Apple Dippers are just sliced apples -- either cameo or pink lady varieties, sealed within a plastic bag and bathed with calcium ascorbate to maintain freshness and color. Low-fat caramel dip comes on the side.
Apple Dippers were a key component of a "Lifestyles Platform" McDonald's introduced in 2004. As such, the dessert became a new Happy Meal option, along with new beverage choices including 100 percent pure apple juice, as well as white and chocolate 1 percent milk. McDonald's sells more than 35 million pounds (nearly 16 million kilograms) of apples annually just through Apple Dippers [source: QSR Magazine]. Throw in apple juice and baked apple pies, and it's easy to see why the company buys more apples than any restaurant chain in the United States [source: Younge].