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McDonald’s to Debut Spicy Chicken McNuggets, Its First New U.S. Flavor Since 1983

Plus, KFC is no longer “finger-lickin’ good” in the time of coronavirus, and more news to start your day

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Chicken nuggets and a bowl of dipping sauce.
Spicy Chicken McNuggets are debuting in the fall with a hot dipping sauce.
Photo: McDonald’s

McDonald’s nuggets are getting a spicy makeover

McDonald’s is adding spicy chicken nuggets to the menu starting on September 16, marking the first time the chain has introduced a new McNugget flavor in the U.S. since the menu item debuted in 1983. The nuggets — which have a tempura coating made with cayenne and chile peppers, per a press release — as well as a new hot dipping sauce and a new Chips Ahoy McFlurry flavor, will be available at participating restaurants for a limited time.

With these spicy nuggets (which our Eater London colleagues say are actually “not spicy enough”), McDonald’s is stepping back into the so-called “fast-food chicken wars” that Popeyes kicked off last summer with a direct challenge to Chick-fil-A. In the past year, Wendy’s brought back its spicy chicken nuggets, KFC tested a new chicken sandwich in Florida, Taco Bell tested crispy chicken wings at at least one location, and McDonald’s itself tested two new chicken sandwiches at select locations amid franchisees’ requests for a new crispy sandwich to compete in the race. As Business Insider reports, chicken has emerged as a bright spot for fast-food sales these past few months; it makes perfect sense that the giant of fast-food restaurants wants a bigger piece of that market share.

And in other news…

  • The Department of Agriculture has declined to let schools serve free meals to all students this fall, despite the rising economic and food insecurity that many families are facing. In explaining the decision, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue wrote that the scope of this request “would be closer to a universal school meals program,” as if that’s a bad thing? [The Counter]
  • A class action lawsuit is accusing Chipotle of ripping off its customers by failing to properly provide change to customers paying with cash, in light of the chain’s new policy asking customers to pay with exact change if they use cash due to the national coin shortage. [Business Insider]
  • KFC is temporarily suspending use of its slogan “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good” in the age of COVID-19. Might I suggest the revised “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good After You’ve Washed Your Hands, Sanitized All Surfaces You Might Touch, and Pulled Your Mask Down to Eat Six Feet Away From Other People, Then Wash Your Hands Again”? [USA Today]
  • The Great British Bake Off is reportedly returning this year, a feat only able to be accomplished after the entire cast and crew lived in their own big GBBO bubble for the entire duration of filming. [The Takeout]
  • The craft spirits industry is in dire shape, having lost 41 percent of their sales, or $700 million in revenue, due to the pandemic obliterating on-site sales and tasting rooms. [Food Dive]
  • Meanwhile, Boston-based Harpoon Brewery has teamed up with Dunkin’ to launch beer brewed from doughnuts. [MassLive]
  • And Hendrick’s Gin launched a “streaming service” that streams … streams. [Forbes]

All AM Intel Coverage [E]