In a national taste test, consumers said that Wendy's new French fries taste better than McDonald's fries. Specifically, 56 percent of consumers taking the test chose Wendy's, McDonald's received 39 percent, and 4 percent had no preference.

"We're taking on the giant—McDonald's—with our natural-cut fries with sea salt," says Ken Calwell, Wendy's chief marketing officer.  "Consumers are noticing we have completely new French fries, and we're thrilled with the early results."

Wendy's new fries, launched nationally in November 2010, were developed specifically to meet consumers' demand for a better-tasting, higher-quality French fry. They're made from 100 percent Russet potatoes and sliced "natural-style" with the skin on for additional texture and taste, then cooked in proprietary oil that has 0 grams trans fat per serving. They are finished with a dusting of natural sea salt.

Wendy's fry unit sales were up 16 percent during the national media in December versus the base period.

Calwell acknowledges that Wendy's has never had a national reputation for great-tasting fries. A year ago, the company re-engineered its French fries and introduced them into all restaurants last November.

"We've listened intently to our customers and incorporated their feedback into our products," Calwell says. "The results from this taste test validate our efforts to deliver what our customers want—better tasting fries. And our fries are hot with a golden color and a real potato taste seasoned with sea salt."

Consumer Trends, Menu Innovations, News, Wendy's