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V is for Veggieburger

McD_PM_20100216_Veggieburger_180x103.jpgI'm a bit late on the uptake here, since it's been on the menu for over 2 weeks now, but the best Marketing Non-Secret we heard about last October was the Veggieburger which has now debuted in Germany.

There are a lot of vegetarians in Germany, and several years ago McDonald's offered a larger vegetarian burger, the Gemüse-Mac, which had a small but loyal fan base. However, it just didn't sell well enough to fit into the production system. Either they were made to order, meaning you had to wait 6 minutes at a minimum, or the sandwiches were held well over the 10 minute holding limit, and you can imagine how that tasted (not good).

In the meantime McDonald's here has implemented a made-to-order system (BOP in McJargon) for deep-fried products, so we can now better offer a fresh but low-selling product. And the market for vegetarian sandwich is still there and growing, particularly among young women, and vegetarians cannot live on salads and french fries alone.

The new Veggieburger now headlines the relaunched SMS line, along with the Cheeseburger and the Chickenburger. The deep-fried patty is based on potatoes, with carrots, red bell peppers, corn and onions, with a creamy sauce, lettuce and cheese. It's not a low-calorie sandwich. The calories per 100g (250) is the same as the Cheeseburger, but the Veggieburger is 20% heavier so has more total calories (360 vs. 300). It tastes alright, I think, although when I have 300 calories to spare on a snack I'd personally take a Cheeseburger. :-)

As businesspeople we're happy with how the product is starting out. Sales are in the neighborhood of the Hamburger, and it's attracting a target group that wouldn't be so inclined to visit us. The price of 1.10€ means we've broken the 1€ barrier, and we can see how the guests react.

There are no TV spots yet for the Veggieburger, but it's pictured briefly in this cute spot for SMS. Even for non-German speakers, I think the dialog is clear (the father is going to McDonald's and asks if she wants anything). Don't think the spot would fly in the States, though... :-)

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