On a hot summer’s day, or maybe when you need a quick sugar fix, nothing really compares to a frozen dessert from McDonald’s. Grab a sweet treat and prepare to be surprised by the Top 10 Untold Truths of McDonald’s Ice Cream!
10. The Recipe for Ice Cream Has Changed
Along with a lot of other menu items such as their chicken McNuggets or breakfast sandwiches, McDonald’s has been making the effort to swap out what’s inside their ice cream for cleaner ingredients. McDonald’s ice cream no longer contains sodium diphosphate, which is a preservative often used to maintain the flavor and tenderness of meat. Eating too much of this preservative has been linked to osteoporosis, heart disease, and kidney problems, so it’s a big relief that Mickey D’s no longer uses it in their ice creams. Additionally, the vanilla flavoring has been switched from artificial to natural, which only improves the taste. McDonald’s executives have expressed their commitment to improving what’s inside their food and making sure customers can be proud of what they’re eating. Other fast food chains, such as Wendy’s or In-N-Out, have been taking the same steps, not only as a means of giving their customers better food to eat, but also in order to keep up with the competition. Although that’s definitely a step in the right direction for the Golden Arches, a McFlurry after a rough work week or a bad day still feels like an indulgence. At least you can enjoy your sweet treat knowing that it’s made with clean ingredients.
9. The McFlurry Spoon Mystery
Ever wondered why the McFlurry spoon seems to be such an odd shape? As it turns out, the spoon isn’t only used to transfer the deliciousness from cup to mouth; there’s actually a few reasons why it’s such a weird shape. First and foremost, the spoon is actually what attaches to the machine that spins the toppings into the ice cream. According to McDonald’s, the square shape of the spoon is also stronger, allowing the machine to mix the McFlurry easily without breaking anything — which is a relief, because the idea of finding shards of busted plastic in your frozen treat sounds like nightmare fuel. Not only that, but the hollow shape of the spoon allows it to remain strong while using less plastic, making it more environmentally friendly. The square shape is also said to insulate your hands and protect them from the cold, so you’re not completely freezing your fingertips as you enjoy your McFlurry. Square spoons are also easier to pack and ship in boxes, which makes them all the more efficient. Who knew a fast-food dessert’s spoon could have such an innovative design?
8. The Cone-ing Clapback
If you were on the internet in 2011, you’ll remember that cone-ing was a popular prank to play on McDonald’s drive-thru employees during that time. Similar to planking, the Harlem Shake, and other ludicrous trends that have dropped off the face of the earth in the past ten years, pranksters would order a vanilla ice cream cone from McDonald’s and pick it up at the drive-thru window by the ice cream part of the dessert instead of the cone, which would—ideally, at least—elicit startled and amusing reactions from the employee who was serving them. However, the trend became so popular that some employees began to catch on to it and catch their customers in the act; there are lots of “fail” videos of potential pranksters getting called out on their BS when the employee realizes they’re up to no good. If you dig deep enough into the recesses of YouTube, you’re bound to find videos of frustrated McDonald’s workers withholding the ice cream until they’re certain the customer will hold it by the cone instead of making a mess. In one of these clips, a manager actually threatened to mush the ice cream in a customer’s face if she grabbed it by the ice cream instead of the cone—ouch! When we see these videos posted online, it’s no wonder that the trend vanished into oblivion after such a short time. However, if you’re ever looking for a shot of early-2010s nostalgia, looking up “cone-ing fails” online will definitely give you your fix: these thwarted attempts at cone-ing are arguably funnier than the intended prank ever was in the first place!
7. Delicious McFlurry Variations Around the World
The Oreo McFlurry is a popular menu choice in the West, but some McDonald’s locations around the world have added some delightfully different McFlurries to their menus. For example, McDonald’s locations in Australia and New Zealand offer the Strawberry Crumble McFlurry, which features vanilla ice cream, tangy strawberry syrup, and buttery, bready crumble mixed in. For fans of matcha green tea, the matcha Oreo McFlurry, found in different parts of Asia, is definitely a tempting choice. It’s super interesting to see how different McDonald’s restaurants around the world alter their menus to fit the flavors of the region they’re located in. Some countries even offer seasonal McFlurries: Japan’s Pumpkin Oreo McFlurry is available only during the fall, making it the perfect choice to get in the Halloween spirit, while the UK offers a Mini Egg McFlurry that uses Cadbury chocolate, available only around Easter. Who knew that blended ice cream could be this festive? Although it’s pretty hard to find these interesting variations outside of their home countries, McDonald’s occasionally brings these international McFlurries to their Global Headquarters restaurant in Chicago for consumers to test out without having to travel too far to do so. The HQ is worth the visit if you’re in the area; it offers sandwiches and other hot meals from all over the world, and customers report it being the most pristine McDonald’s they’ve ever visited. After hearing about all of these interesting and tasty variations of the treasured dessert, McFlurries in North America need to step their game up!
6. The Controversial Canadian McFlurry
Although lots of McFlurries found in different countries seem delicious and exciting, some customers aren’t so thrilled with the new additions, like with the Skor McFlurry of Canada. In 2017, Candian McDonald’s locations were trying to amp up their selection by adding a new flavor of McFlurry alongside their new all-day breakfast menu. The new McFlurry was topped with Skor, a chocolate toffee candy. While Skor is a popular sweet in Canada, the choice to use the toffee treat as a topping struck a nerve with consumers, as the candy bar contains nuts. Although McDonald’s has never claimed to be a completely nut-free fast food restaurant, many McDonald’s customers thought that the chain was pretty safe for people who suffered from nut allergies. However, the addition of the Skor McFlurry changed their minds, and McDonald’s received backlash by consumers who feared that the new addition would cause cross-contamination and make eating at McDonald’s dangerous for those with nut allergies. Prior to the introduction of this McFlurry, nut products served at McDonald’s were said to be individually packaged, which was safer for keeping nut-free products from becoming contaminated. However, the Skor McFlurry did not practice this measure, which caused concern for customers with nut allergies who also wanted McFlurries. If a customer ordered a Skor McFlurry and a second customer with a nut allergy ordered a different McFlurry, the machine that mixes in the toppings would still have remnants of Skor on it unless thoroughly cleaned. The controversial Skor McFlurry is still on the menu at Canadian locations today, so McDonald’s likely stood their ground with this one.
5. The First Shamrock Shake Wasn’t Mint
Although March can be a pretty dreary month, one thing we can look forward to every year is the return of McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. We know the shake to be a delicious, sweet mint flavor, but the first Shamrock Shake actually wasn’t made that way. The shake’s debut appearance featured vanilla ice cream and lemon-lime sherbet, which is pretty far off from the minty flavor we know and love today. Crazily enough, the Shamrock Shake has been around for just about fifty years: introduced in 1970, the iconic shake has likely been a childhood favorite for generations. Right when it was kicking off, though, the Shamrock Shake had its own mascot named Uncle O’Grimacey, who made an appearance in a commercial for the featured menu item and was said to be the Irish uncle of Grimace, another mascot who made appearances in McDonald’s commercials from 1971 to 2003. Not only is the Shamrock Shake delicious, its sales in 1974 actually helped to build the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia, where families with sick children can regroup and get resources. It feels good to know that something that tastes this good can also benefit communities and help people out.
4. M&M McFlurries Almost Disappeared Forever
Fans of McDonald’s delicious frozen dessert were shocked when they found out that Mars, the candy company who supplies McDonald’s with M&M’s, nearly pulled the plug on the M&M McFlurry. In 2016, Mars expressed their concerns with having their M&M’s in McDonald’s ice cream, citing issues with nutrition as their main worry. In this case, Mars’ concerns are pretty understandable: the M&M McFlurry, although delicious, contains a whopping 126 grams of sugar, which is much more than the suggested daily value for anyone. Mars was worried that the sugar overload would go against their message of enjoying sweets in moderation, which they likely thought would tarnish their image and make them look irresponsible for working with McDonald’s. Seeing as the M&M McFlurry is still around today, though, it’s safe to say that Mars reconsidered their choice and kept it on the McDonald’s dessert menu. Although it’s totally understandable not to want to promote unhealthy habits, losing the M&M McFlurry forever would surely break the hearts of McFlurry connoisseurs across the country. The M&M McFlurry’s near-death experience proves that menu items shouldn’t be taken for granted, as they can be removed at any given time.
3. McFlurries Can Be Deadly to Hedgehogs
As weird and wild as it sounds, an incident in the UK shows how McFlurries—or, at least, their packaging—can be harmful to these cute critters. A mailman reported seeing a hedgehog inside a container in 2001, which just so happened to be a McFlurry container. Wanting to satisfy its own sweet tooth, the hedgehog was likely attracted to the sweet smell of the ice cream inside, only to get its spines caught on the lid of the McFlurry when it attempted to back out. This resulted in the British Hedgehog Preservation Society asking McDonald’s to change the way they make the lid, as many western European hedgehogs could die from getting stuck in the McFlurry containers. McDonald’s across the UK agreed to change their McFlurry lids in 2006 as a means to protect the hedgehogs. This wasn’t just in the UK, though; the idea caught on in other areas, as McDonald’s locations in Germany also made the switch to protect these hedgehogs and other animals who may have gotten stuck in the McFlurry containers. It’s great that the hedgehogs are safer now, and also hilarious to know that they’re just about as crazy over McFlurries as their human friends!
2. The Real Reason Why The Machine is Broken
As it turns out, the contraptions that pump out delicious McDonald’s ice cream aren’t really “broken” at all: they actually just take forever to clean and sanitize, and McDonald’s has been taking steps to try and curb this issue by replacing the old machines with newer ones that are more convenient for employees and customers alike. McDonald’s workers report that the old machines would take up to four hours to clean and sanitize a day, and during that period of time, they’re unable to serve any ice cream to customers. It’s understandable that McDonald’s would take time to clean and sanitize their ice cream machine daily, but it’s still super disappointing to hear the bad news when you’re at the drive-thru and craving something sweet. You’ve probably come from a long day at work or school and have an itch for a yummy treat that only McDonald’s ice cream can satisfy. Seriously, it’s like McFlurries have some kind of unexplainable power over the hungry human mind; once you want one, you can’t stop thinking about it. Luckily, McDonald’s has been replacing their old ice cream machines with newer ones that are supposed to function more efficiently and be a bit easier to clean, but customers have continued to express disappointment over the machines not being usable during their visit. Hopefully, McDonald’s will be taking additional steps to fix this issue for good.
1. Someone Created an App for Ice Cream Machines
It’s understandable to be frustrated over a “broken” ice cream machine, but this is kind of ridiculous: an app that tells you if the ice cream machine at your local McDonald’s is working or not. The app, called Ice Check, by the way, uses crowd-sourced info and GPS coordinates to inform customers if the ice cream machine at their favorite McDonald’s is currently in use. That way, you can save yourself the disappointment of pulling up to the drive-thru window after hyping yourself up for a sugar fix. The creator of the app, Raina McLeod, says she created the app after growing tired of craving a McFlurry and never being able to order one due to never knowing when the machine was available. She expressed that she was frustrated with McDonald’s for being such a huge company, but never being able to give customers the coveted McFlurries they crave. Because she’s giving consumers the power to check on the machines themselves prior to ordering, McLeod has proclaimed herself to be an activist for fast food enthusiasts everywhere. After seeing someone create an app like this, you can’t help but wonder what else is in the works—maybe an app that can tell you when Wendy’s is out of a particular menu item, or an app that can tell you which burger is statistically the tastiest. It’s clear that the power of technology can and should be used to improve the quality of human life, but having a few cool fast-food apps certainly won’t hurt. Sure, creating an entire app based on a dilemma surrounding a frozen dessert seems a bit excessive, but diehard fans of McDonald’s ice cream will surely rejoice over McLeod’s innovation.