A Good Reason Limited-Time Foods Come Around Annually

October 8, 2019

© Julia Sudnitskaya | Dreamstime

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McDonald's has built an empire around serving comforting, familiar foods that are consistent across thousands of locations (and they're really good at what they do!). The fast food giant announced last week that its McRib sandwich would be making a limited return to its menu marking the seasonal beginning of McRib season. The pork sandwich first appeared in McDonald's stores in 1981 but sales were underwhelming and in 1985 it was taken off menus. When it resurfaced in 1994, it had nostalgia and novelty on its side, and people were more willing to give the rib-shaped mystery meat a chance. By 2005, it was popular enough to become a recurring menu item, with entire websites dedicated in following its annual return in eh likes of Thanksgiving and Christmas. But if it's so popular, why doesn't it remain on the menu all the time? Because food companies know that having at least one seasonal item is good for business. From Starbucks PSLs and Unicorn Frappuccinos to Taco Bell's Nacho fries, companies know that something is only around for a limited window motives us to make time to buy it than they would be if it was always there waiting for them. It's a system that works too well. Since 2015, the number of limited-time menu items has increased 64% at Top 500 chain restaurants and retail operations. So limited-time offers and the buzz they create touches our inner soul and gets you to come in and indulge in nostalgia.

SOURCE: Mental Floss

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