Australian Big Mac not so big after all

Wednesday, June 17 2009 @ 01:12 PM EDT

Contributed by: Billy

It's been suspected for a very long time, but now it's official. The Big Mac isn't so big after all. Coming in with a width of up to 20% less than its Central American counterpart, the Aussie Big Mac is also the lightest of the bunch. Maybe they should rename it "Not So Big Mac for Health Conscious Australians"?


CALL it the Not So Big Mac. It has been revealed the Australian version of the McDonald's signature product is actually more than 20 per cent smaller than its namesake in other nations.


We're calling it the real Big Mac Index. While The Economist's Big Mac Index compares "purchasing power parity", ours measures width and weight - as well as fat, sugar and salt content. In other words, what you actually get for your money.

The Real Big Mac Index has taken us from Portugal to Panama, from the UAE to the USA, and reveals that at just 9.5cm in diameter, the Aussie Big Mac can't compete with the 12cm-wide beef behemoths of Central America and the Middle East. Not only is our burger 21 per cent shy side-to-side of those in Mexico and the UAE, it's also the lightest at just 201g. That's 18g, or 8 per cent less than the largest.

Where our diameter comparison was based on purchased products, weight analysis was the result of analysing nutritional data on McDonald's websites around the world. This shows that the Not So Big Mac has 22 per cent fewer kilojoules than its Canadian cousin and 31 per cent fewer carbohydrates than Malaysia's, which also contains nearly three times the salt.

However, the amount of salt in our Not So Big Mac has been increased.

McDonald's Australia spokeswoman Bronwyn Stubbs yesterday conceded there had been an 8 per cent rise in the sodium content, from 891mg to 960mg because of how the meat is seasoned.

Still, it's the lowest-sodium Mac in our survey. Canada's is next (1020mg), then the US (1040). The UK's has twice as much as the US version at 2100mg. Malaysia's is a frightening 2700mg.

We can also debunk the popular myth that our burger has shrunk. It's always been Not So Big. Peter Ritchie - who brought McDonald's to Australia - - said it's size had not been reduced. Size has never changed.

Mr Ritchie, who also became a director of McDonald's Corp in the US, said there were other misconceptions.

"A lot of people have said to me, 'How do you get away with saying it's 100 per cent beef?' . . . how do you think we get away with it?" he said.

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