USA TODAY reports that Wendy’s is dumping its cooking oil for a blend of non-hydrogenated corn and soy oil containing next-to-no artery-clogging trans fats.
With the new oil — to be rolled out in the USA and Canada in August — a large order of Wendy’s fries will drop from 7 grams of trans fats to 0.5 grams.
“This is the right thing to do,” says Kerrii Anderson, interim CEO.
Wendy’s move is expected to have vast repercussions both for consumers and for the $125 billion fast-food industry. It leaves No. 1 McDonald’s and No. 2 Burger King in the dust. Nearly four years ago, McDonald’s announced — then quickly backed away from — plans to cut trans fats in its cooking oil.
The oil change didn’t come easily for Wendy’s and its supplier, Cargill. They’ve been working on the new oil for almost two years, says Lori Estrada, Wendy’s senior vice president of research and development. The trick for Wendy’s — and all fast-food chains — has been to find a healthier oil that didn’t degrade the taste of the fries or chicken, she says.
The oil was tested for a year at 370 Wendy’s stores in Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. Consumers reported no change in taste, Estrada says.