mcsupersized by ron english

Supersize is a very large portion of fast food. At McDonald’s it once referred to the largest size of French fries (7-ounce) and soft drinks (42-ounce). After taking a customer’s order, employees would ask,  ‘Would you like that Supersized?’

The 2004 documentary ‘Super Size Me’ is often credited with associating the term with obesity and unhealthy portions sizes. The movie followed one man’s month-long McDonald’s diet. McDonald’s began to phase out the Super Size option from their menu in the spring of 2004, and by the end of the year it was gone completely.

McDonald’s larger sizes of French fries and sodas were originally named ‘Dino-Size’ and were introduced with the 1993 ‘Jurassic Park’ movie promotion. After the movie promotion, they kept the sizes but renamed them to ‘Supersize.’ Supersizing was the idea of David Wallerstein, a McDonald’s executive who worked for a chain of movie theaters in the 1950s and 1960s. While working at the movie theaters, Wallerstein was tasked with boosting sales of popcorn and soda. Wallerstein discovered that it was very difficult to persuade customers to purchase more than one soda or bag of popcorn.

Although McDonald’s executive Ray Kroc was initially skeptical of Wallerstein’s proposal to supersize McDonald’s meals (believing that people who wanted more fries would buy two bags), he eventually agreed to try Wallerstein’s idea. The sales results led to the program being rolled out in the 1990’s throughout McDonald’s restaurants. After McDonald’s other fast food restaurant chains like Wendy’s and Burger King started their own versions of bigger portion sizes.

McDonald’s began to phase out their Super Size in March of 2004. The stated reason was to simplify their menu.

By early 2003 McDonald’s had faced a lawsuit in New York by two teenage girls who claimed that McDonald’s should be held responsible for their obesity and diabetes. The case was eventually dismissed as the plaintiffs had failed to establish that McDonald’s should be liable for obesity-related illnesses. A US District Judge declared that, ‘Nobody is forced to eat at McDonald’s.’

Wendy’s ‘Biggie’ trademark was discontinued in 2006. The company removed the label from their French fries and sodas but did not downsize their meal sizes. The 32-ounce Biggie soda is now a Wendy’s medium. The once 42-ounce Great Biggie soda is now a large. The same is also true with fries. The 5.6-ounce Biggie fries is now a medium, and the 6.7-ounce Great Biggie has become the large. Wendy’s former 20-ounce medium drink and 5-ounce medium fries are now called small. A similar changes were made by Burger King in 2010.

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