McDonald’s Adds Oatmeal to the Menu

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – McDonald’s (Stock Quote: MCD) will start serving oatmeal next month for $1.99, the company confirmed Monday.

The newest addition to the menu, Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, has already appeared at a few of the chain’s restaurants, but a company spokesperson says that a nationwide rollout at participating restaurants will happen on Jan. 3. The oatmeal will be available in only one flavor and one size at a suggested retail price of $1.99, and will contain whole grain oats, apples, cranberries and raisins. The company spokesman said it was too early to speculate on future flavor offerings. 

McDonald’s decision to launch the product in all of its U.S. locations is in line with its move toward making breakfast a gourmet experience, as it has in promoting its McCafé line of coffee. Rival Burger King (Stock Quote: BKC) has recently done the same in sprucing up its breakfast and brunch offerings.

It’s worth noting, however, that the oatmeal will be available all day, suggesting that McDonald’s will promote it both as a breakfast item and as a healthy snack. The company emphasizes that the oatmeal is a great source of fiber and vitamin C, and say that it clocks in at 290 calories (260 if you order it without brown sugar). In that respect, it joins such low-calorie snacks as the Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait (160 calories) and the Fruit and Walnut Salad (210 calories).

Still, another factor may have gone into the decision. Starbucks (Stock Quote: SBUX) began offering oatmeal in 2008 to much success, so McDonald’s may be trying to replicate the coffee chain’s move into healthy breakfast foods.

Who knows? Maybe the ubiquitous red-nosed clown will take over from the Quaker Oats Quaker as the face of oatmeal in America.

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