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Interesting piece in The Atlantic about how and why McDonald’s entry into the smoothies business worked, to the point that it had to cut back on a free sampling promotion because executives were concerned about running out of product. Among the elements cited by The Atlantic that worked in McDonald’s favor:

• The price was right - cheaper than most competitors and not significantly higher than a soda.

• The value proposition seemed good - the McDonald’s smoothie is perceived as being healthy, even though “a 16 ounce smoothie actually has 73% more calories and 30% more sugar than a Coca-Cola of the same size. McDonald's also doesn't use as pure ingredients as some smoothie chains like Jamba Juice. But perception is reality.”

• McDonald’s has a lot more locations than a competitor like Jamba Juice, which give sit the ability to dominate the market.

And, finally, it has been an incredibly hot summer in much of the US, which made a cold smoothie appear to be a refreshing, economical and healthy option.
KC's View:
I’ve actually had one of Mickey D’s smoothies, and thought it was pretty good. But now that I know that “a 16 ounce smoothie actually has 73% more calories and 30% more sugar than a Coca-Cola of the same size,” I think I’ll be sticking with water or Diet Coke.