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McDonald's aiming at world chicken takeover? McBites may be first salvo


By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 22, 2011 | 2 min read

The international fast food chain McDonald's is sending a new salvo into the fried chicken wars with the launch of "Chicken McBites" nationally in the US early in 2012.

McDonalds logo

Already tested in Australia and two US cities, the move appears to be part of a plan to seize market share from chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken, says the magazine AdAge .

A memo on the tiny chicken morsels, obtained by AdAge, makes it clear that McDonald's vision is "to be the restaurant that consumers choose first for chicken anytime, anywhere."

The memo comes from OPNAD, the U.S. co-op of McDonald's Owner/Operators known as the Operator's National Advertising Fund, which pools its money to pay for adverts. It says that January marks the start of "phase 2 of the chicken strategy toward becoming a credible destination for chicken". And the aim is to put an end to the "switching behaviour consumers are displaying within the category". They want people to eat only their chicken all the time!

McBites according to AdAge:

• Are targeted at "multicultural adults 18-49"

• Expected to roll out across restaurants around the US for three months next year.

• Have been tested in Detroit and Phoenix and were apparently well-received and deemed a good value for money

• They are all breast meat and golden brown color with a "light delicate crispness"

• They have a "craveable, home-style flavor profile" made with buttermilk, onion, garlic sugar and salt.

McBites, which come with dipping sauces, are about the size of a pound coin, much smaller the McDonald's s existing Chicken McNuggets, and have been compared to Kentucky Fried Chicken's popcorn line. No word yet of a UK launch.

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