NEW YORK — McDonald’s Corp. says it is offering its first new Happy Meal entree in a decade: Fish McBites.
The world’s biggest hamburger chain said the Fish McBites will be widely available at U.S. restaurants starting this week and continuing through March, to coincide with Lent. The Happy Meals will come with seven pieces of Fish McBites, French fries, apple slices, and a drink.
The company announced last month that the Fish McBites would be sold on the standard menu in three sizes — groups of 5, 10, or 30 pieces.
The fried pieces of fish will use the same Alaska pollock used in the chain’s Filet-O-Fish.
McDonald’s says the launch is the start of a bigger pipeline of new limited-time offers for the year. By adding more variety to its menu, the company is hoping it can fend off intensifying competition and tempt customers to eat out more at a time when many are being more careful about their spending.
Brian Irwin, chief of marketing for McDonald’s USA, said the Fish McBites are a twist on the popular Chicken McBites that were introduced as a limited-time offer last year. He said the company thought they’d work in Happy Meals because there’s a “fun, poppable” aspect to them.
That’s why McDonald’s sells more Happy Meals with Chicken McNuggets than hamburgers or cheeseburgers, he said.
He also said internal research showed that moms wanted more seafood options on the menu.
Although the Fish McBites will be offered temporarily, Mr. Irwin said the firm might bring them back periodically if they perform well.
Depending on the drink selected, McDonald’s says the Happy Meals with Fish McBites have between 385 calories and 415 calories.