Fast-food giants McDonald’s and Pizza Hut are thinking small after the Super Bowl, with new menu offerings that take after the small plates, tapas and portion-controlled craze.
McDonald’s this week is adding seafood for the first time to its Happy Meals with its Fish McBites. The seven small pieces of Alaska pollock – which are certified as sustainably sourced – contain 170 calories.
The limited time offer will coincide with Lent, which begins next week, and is made with the same fish used in McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches. The Fish McBites are also available on the regular menu in other sizes.
In another short-term promotion, Pizza Hut debuted pizza sliders following Sunday’s football game. The mini-pizzas are 3.5 inches across, compared to the 6-inch diameter of a standard Pizza Hut personal pie.
Customers can pick up nine sliders – with three combinations and up to three toppings each – for $10 or three for $5. Pizza Hut is giving away free samples of the small pizzas from 4 to 7 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
The offerings come as customer appetites evolve toward variety and more manageable snack sizes. In March, research group Technomic found that 48% of consumers say they’re snacking at least twice a day, compared with the quarter who said the same in 2010.
Last year, McDonald’s launched its Chicken McBites. Cake pops – bite-sized cake pieces delivered via lollipop sticks – have enjoyed a surge of popularity in recent years.
“Pressure from the nutritional disclosure legislation has prompted the food-service industry to reduce calorie counts in meals,” said Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano in a statement. “As a result, Americans are now more inclined to ‘graze’ throughout the day, seeking snacks that provide fuel between traditional meal parts.”