The Mystery Behind the McRib: Why is it Only Seasonal?

McDonald's McRib sandwich has been a long-time favorite of many, but why is it only available for a limited time? The answer lies in the combination of consumer demand, pork prices, and a bit of history. The McRib consists of a restructured boneless pork burger shaped like miniature ribs, barbecue sauce, onions and pickles, served as a sandwich on a 5 ½ inch (14 cm) roll. It was first introduced in 1981 but wasn't very successful. McDonald's then underestimated the demand for chicken McNuggets and needed an additional item to offer to balance things out.

This is how the McRib was born. McDonald's brings the McRib back periodically based on consumer demand. Major media outlets and the entire Internet pick up the story every time the McRib returns, which in turn draws more traffic as sandwich fans flock to try it once again. The McRib Locator website helps people locate the limited-edition sandwich.

The price of pork shoulder also plays an important role in determining when and how long the McRib stays on the menu. If McDonald's offered McRib all year round, it would affect the price of pork in the market and customers would have to pay more for their sandwiches in store. The McRib's marketing strategy brings together the appeal of exclusivity, scarcity and seasonality in one tasty package. Some people think McRib is an abomination of 70 ingredients, while others can't get enough of it.

The McRib returns Oct. 9 at more than 1,000 McDonald's locations in the U. S., so be sure to keep an eye out for it!.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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