Let me first say that I haven’t eaten a McDonald’s sandwich since high school — and not single fast-food burger of any kind for at least a decade. I’m not sure if that makes me more or less credible on the issue of the McRib, but don’t worry, I’m not going to offer any opinions of my own.
Rather, I’m just going to point you in the direction of a fascinating new conspiracy theory: that the McDonald’s McRib is a way for the restaurant chain to profit from times of low pork prices:
Looking … back into pork price history, we can see some interesting trends that corroborate with some McRib history. When McDonald’s first introduced the product, they kept it nationwide until 1985, citing poor sales numbers as the reason for removing it from the menu. Between 1982 and 1985 pork prices were significantly lower than prices in 1981 and 1986, when pork would reach highs of $17 per pound; during the product’s first run, pork prices were fluctuating between roughly $9 and $13 per pound—until they spiked around when McDonald’s got rid of it. Take a look at 30 years of pork prices here and see for yourself. Also note that sharp dip in 1994—McDonald’s reintroduced the sandwich that year, too. Though notably, they didn’t do so in 1998.
There’s even a chart of more recent pork prices, correlated with the introduction of the McRib (black lines):
Sure, correlation is not causation, and the conspiracy theory delves deeper in to the economics of price arbitrage than I’m really comfortable vetting, but the essential point is clear:
McDonald’s is so huge that it moves markets, and it would be wise to both realize that, and profit from it.
After all, the McRib was born when McDonald’s ran out of chickens for chicken nuggets.
(via Boing Boing)