McDonald's to add oatmeal in 2011

by Eric Schroeder
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NEW YORK — McDonald’s Corp. on June 2 said it is planning a nationwide launch of oatmeal sometime in 2011, a move the company’s chief executive officer described as part of its effort to stretch its menu “smartly and strategically.”

The introduction of oatmeal was one of several initiatives detailed by Jim Skinner, c.e.o., in his discussion of the company’s product differentiation strategy at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York.

McDonald’s has been testing the oatmeal, which comes in brown maple sugar topped with apples, raisins and cranberries blended with cream, in Baltimore and Washington for several months. According to, a 9-oz serving of McDonald’s oatmeal contains 280 calories, 135 mg of sodium, 4 grams of fat, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of protein, 5 mg of cholesterol, 31 grams of sugar and has a suggested retail price of $1.99.

“We are committed to stretching our menu smartly and strategically, so that we always deliver the favorites consumers love and new offerings they want,” Mr. Skinner said.

The introduction of oatmeal continues McDonald’s recent run of innovation in its breakfast menu. The restaurant chain earlier this year began selling five breakfast items for $1, including a Sausage McMuffin, a sausage burrito, a sausage biscuit, a small coffee and a hash brown.

Complementing the innovation in breakfast food has been the company’s push to expand its beverage offerings under the McCafe brand.

“We have rolled out frappes in nearly all U.S. restaurants, and they are exceeding our expectations,” Mr. Skinner said. “And next month we will be launching our Real Fruit Smoothies with wild berry and strawberry banana. These drinks are easy to deliver operationally, sell across the entire day, and they are moving particularly well in the snack day part.”

Mr. Skinner said consumers have responded well to the McCafe line of specialty coffees, with total U.S. coffee sales up 38% year to date as of April, which comes on top of a 25% increase in 2009. He said the coffee drinks also are delivering significant growth in Europe, Canada, and markets in Asia.

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