Artery Constrictor Hugo

According to Sunday's New York Times, McDonalds is backsliding on its commitment to making America a healthier place with the introduction of the "Hugo", the inexplicably renamed "supersize" soft drink:

Remember Supersize sodas? They're back, except this time the chain is trying a new name. Meet the "Hugo," a 42-ounce drink now available for as little as 89 cents in some markets. A Hugo soda contains about 410 calories.

McDonald's might as well have called it the Tubbo.

Bada-bing! But what really gets the Times' dander up is the burger giant's mustache-twisting marketing department who are—horror of horrors—targeting non-English speakers:

Making matters worse, Hugo ads are available in several languages, making sure that minorities—who are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic—are aware of the budget beverage.

Making matters worse? Is McDonalds actually trying to sell its devil products to minorities "disproportionately affected" (i.e. Hispanics) by the "obesity epidemic"? I thank the Sulzberger family for bringing this scandal to public attention.

(Note: According to this 2005 University of Iowa study, "obesity is increasing in all races, all income categories, and at a faster rate with people in higher incomes.")

These developments are especially disturbing, according to the Times, when one considers the company's successful introduction of its "health choices" menu:

The chain has spruced up its restaurants, improved its advertising and introduced menu items that have helped to reshape its image and reinvigorate sales.

Premium salads and apple dippers brought moms back. Chicken wraps lured people during off-hours; higher-quality coffee turbocharged breakfast business.

McDonald's stock price has quadrupled in the last four years, and the company has reported positive same-store sales, an important industry measure, every month since April 2003.

But read further and the Times quickly switches gears, saying the sliced apple market has actually done little for the company's bottom line:

Sales of healthier items on the dollar menu remain relatively weak. "Double cheeseburgers always outsold salads 10 to 1," said John Glass, an analyst at CIBC World Markets. But salads and yogurt provide a halo effect that makes the dollar menu more palatable. The Hugo is harder to swallow.

In fairness, the article does allow a single dose of sanity to intrude on the "corporations are making us fat" narrative—courtesy of a sinister food industry stooge, natch:

"They do not have to go there," said Bob Goldin, executive vice president for Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm. "Common sense has to prevail. No one has to drink that big of a serving."

Full story here.

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  • x,y||

    I'd just like to see where McDonald's made the commitment to making America a healthier place.

    In other news, I had a tasty 1/4lb'er last night.

  • SIV||

    McDonalds should be able to sell 42oz cups of trans fats if they chose and customers want it.

    The big beverage bashers seem to forget they will fill the cup with diet soda or unsweetened ice tea. I also wonder do they account for the ice in the cup when counting calories? Sonic will sell you a 44oz cup with 12 ozs of soda between the ice.

  • ||

    What a stupid article!

    I'm shocked - SHOCKED - to learn that MCD's main revenue isn't from the healthy options on the Dollar Menu.

    Who would have thought that people who want to eat food made in minutes aren't making "healthfulness" a priority?

    Psst, NY Times. Did you know that a certain convenience chain also sells soda in a "Super Big Gulp" size for a similar low price?? Apparently these scam artists even sell some of them in low income/minority neighborhoods to boot.

    Oh the horror!!! Someone save humanity.

  • Dave B.||

    Why do so many people act as if soda is the main cause of obesity? I've never seen anyone lose weight by switching to diet coke or water.

  • SIV||

    Does HFCS constrict arteries?
    ',m not up to date on the corporate nutritional threat.

  • ||

    The fast food model has always depended on making up for a loss on hamburgers by overcharging for the drink. Soda is remarkably cheap. The paper cup, the ice, the time it takes the pimply faced nube behind the register to fill it, all cost as much as the sparkling sugar water. So if they cut the price of a small drink, they're cutting right out of their profit, but they can sell large, jumbo, and hugo sizes for next to no additional cost. But god forbid they make those options available to their customers.

  • All_in_the_Details||

    Here in L.A. area the McD 42oz drinks are selling for 69 cents (a bit cheaper than the 89 in the article).

  • ||

    Why do so many people act as if soda is the main cause of obesity? I've never seen anyone lose weight by switching to diet coke or water.

    Depends on how much you drink. I have a friend that lost about 10 lbs. by doing exactly that, but they drank about 10 cans of Coke a day.

  • ||

    the inexplicably renamed "supersize" soft drink:

    Maybe they're named for the fat kid on Lost.

  • ||

    I'm in a market where the Hugo is 89 cents. I'm also a fat guy, so I buy Diet Coke or unsweetened tea (it would take me 90 minutes on the stationary bike to burn the calories from the corn-syrup-laden "regular" sodas). As soon as they sell a filling salad for a dollar, I'll stop ordering a double cheeseburger to go with that low-cal, big-ass drink.

  • ||

    It isn't a Hugo like the hurricane... it is Hugo as in "that bitch's ass is HUGE-O"

  • Episiarch||

    I initially thought that this had to do with Chavez and heart attacks.

    Then I realized it was the elitist fuckbags at the NYT lecturing everyone on what they should be allowed to eat.

    Meh.

  • ||

    Ah, well, I'm sure the bibertarians will nanny McDonald's into submission.

  • ||

    It's all part of a sinister conspiracy on the part of the Scots to make America fat for their eventual revenge against the British and their descendants.

    Pretty soon, Ronald "Angus" McDonald will be leading his army of plaid garbed followers straight to Washington, where they'll install their puppet McCheese, and we'll all be too fat to fight back.

  • lunchstealer||

    I'm just waiting for some of America's hard-left to decry this as an attack on the Bolivaran revolution.

  • ||

    Why didn't they write this?

    Making matters better, Hugo ads are available in several languages, making sure that minorities -- who are disproportionately affected when food is expensive -- are aware of the budget beverage.

  • Bee||

    Here in L.A. area the McD 42oz drinks are selling for 69 cents (a bit cheaper than the 89 in the article).

    ...which comes to a measly 75 cents after tax. I sucked one of those big boys down (Diet Coke, natch) weekend before last after nearly passing out mowing my lawn in the blazing sun.

    And why did I go to McD instead of just popping a can at home? So I could get in my air-conditioned car to drive to their air-conditioned restaurant.

    I heart McDonalds for helping me avoid heatstroke.

  • Brian E||

    My beef with the 42oz drink is that the one I got wasn't full. I asked for "easy ice" and their automatic drink filling machine gladly left out some ice, but failed to fill to the top with Diet Coke.

  • ||

    CFisher,

    Could be. I'm half-Scottish, and I'm not fat. Cool. I'm looking forward to introducing America to the haggis when we take power.

  • ||

    Fast food is crap and I don't eat it. Soft drinks are crap and I don't drink them.

    I feel empowered, somehow.

  • ||

    Haggis is pretty good, paired up with Killian's or Guinness.

    McDonalds should sell Haggis. And Guinness. Especially Guinness.

  • ||

    I will bet you two things:

    1. There will be a real, non-parody political movement to ban "large" soft drinks in less than a year.

    2. When it happens, Dan T. and joe will support it.

  • ||

    Haggis goes best with a Big Scotch.

  • ||

    Hugo ads are available in several languages...

    You know what they call a Quarter Pounder in France?

    Royale with Cheese...

  • ||

    A few weeks back, NYT ran a story on a NYC restaurant trend to use fat in all sorts of recipes. The article encouraged readers to indulge.
    Why? Because it tastes good and people want it.

    So, NYT, if I have $150.00 for a plate of offal drenched in lamb fat I am cultured and indulging myself.
    If I have $4.00 and twenty minutes to grab a bite, I am a poor, exploited fat idiot who can't think for himself?

    This isn't even thinly veiled classism, racism or nannyism. This is the real thing.

    NYT Editor: "Fuck the corporations...uh except for the ones in my daddy's portfolio."


    (Even still, I have to admit that the NYT dining & wine section is really cool)

  • Russ 2000||

    And Guinness. Especially Guinness.

    If McD's sold a 42-ounce Guinness for 89 cents, I would only eat at McDonald's. I'd be fat, drunk, and stupid... and extremely happy.

  • ||

    CFisher,

    I am Irish.

    Killian's is an American beer.

    Guinness is an Irish beer.

    Haggis and McDonald's are, repectively, Scottish and Scotch-American.

    My lawyers will be contacting you over my EOE complaint. Good day.

  • M||

    If the NY Times weren't stuffed with sensationalism, unexamined dogma, flattering and empty images, and available almost free, I would be reading Aristotle and Shakespeare instead. So let's ban it.

    (FWIW, I find wholesome eating a priority, second only perhaps to wholesome thinking, and a good foundation for it. But to each his own.)

  • ||

    So, NYT, if I have $150.00 for a plate of offal drenched in lamb fat I am cultured and indulging myself.

    If I have $4.00 and twenty minutes to grab a bite, I am a poor, exploited fat idiot who can't think for himself?

    The rich have always thought themselves morally superior to the poor. This kind of behavior is nothing new. Take any culture, and look at the behavior that is considered good and wholesome and healthy, and that behavior will more likely in the ruling class and rich than the poor.

    The only difference between now and in previous years is that the rich want to make it illegal for the poor to engage in the "inferior" behavior.

    In the past, "let them eat cake" was something the rich said to dismiss the poor. Nowadays, the rich want to make it a crime to eat anything but cake (metaphorically... now that everyone can afford to eat cake, I am sure they want to criminalize cake).

  • ||

    Oops, the first two paragraphs of my last post where supposed to be blockquotes.

  • Aramaic||

    Not to nitpick, but the title is misleading... A "Hugo" might make you "Huge-o" with all of the calories, but it won't constrict your arteries (as softdrinks don't have fat or cholesterol).

  • ||

    So it just occurred to me... If McDonald's renamed their 42-oz. Coke the "Wetback" and their Big Mac the "Sambo," then minorities would stop ordering them out of protest. And then they would quit being obese. So the answer to racist fast food is a menu full of racial slurs. Go figure.

  • Rhywun||

    elitist fuckbags at the NYT lecturing everyone on what they should be allowed to eat

    From where would you find it acceptable for people to learn this information? I thought it was OK to educate the public? I didn't see anything in the article telling people "what they should be allowed to eat".

  • ||

    Personally I will not be satisfied until we all subside on sawdust and Seattle rainwater.

  • ||

    Ever seen a fat person who did not drink diet soda? Anecdotally, for me it has been almost a 1 to 1 ratio. I think diet soda makes you fat.

    I don't care, they can sell bathtubs of fat-water for 12 cents, if there's a market for that, who am I to say? But I got a medium coke at Jack in the Box, and it was the size of a 2 year old. I fear the large. I think it is getting out of hand, but if I was in the majority on that, the sizes would assuredly be smaller. I heard that in a McD's in France, the largest soda they offer is our small. Same company, different market. I guess we have a soda-guzzling culture, for better or worse. McD's saw that, made a few bucks from offering what people want. That's bound to piss off someone at NYT.

  • ||

    MWUAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Soon I will have more Hugos than Harlan Ellison!

  • ||

    "Making matters worse, Hugo ads are available in several languages, making sure that minorities-who are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic-are aware of the budget beverage."
    Uhh, maybe they just value their Hispanic speaking customers and put the item in their language to facilitate their ordering...
    On the other hand, didn't McDonalds change their products after Supersize Me voluntarily as a response to consumer concerns? Shouldn't that be a OK with libertarians? I read recently that NYC government will be forcing Wendy's to provide nutritional information on the wrappers of their products, which I think violates libertarian principles. But Mickee D's made the change for market reasons. I mean, people get to organize to inform consumers and goad corporations into changing their behavior as long as they don't use government coercion, right?

  • You Are Allowed To Eat My Ass||

    Educating the public?!

    BREAKING: WORLD'S FOREMOST SELLER OF BIG COKES SELLS BIG COKES TO MEXICANS, OTHERS SEEKING BIG COKES

    Yep, we're all smarter now.

  • ||

    I just want a law that standardizes drink sizing. Some restaurants' scale is all out of whack. You order a medium expecting a nice refreshing 24oz and you get a 55gal drum with a straw in it. A medium drink should fit in your cup holder! Don't try adjusting and ordering a small to get what used to be called a medium! Oh no - at some places smalls are still 16oz while their medium is 32oz! Some places have a 24oz small, but I don't eat that much fast food, so I never remember which restaurants have this new scale of measurements, so I alway end up with a fucking tanker when I just want a decent portion of tasty beverage! It's bullshit! I don't care if all the drinks are bigger! Some fat fuck can drink himself on 44oz Mountain Dews for the rest of his sweaty life for all I care! I just want them to pick a measurement for each size and stick with it! Assholes!

    (I don't really want a law. Just needed to vent.)

  • Paul Dubuc||

    I refuse to order a "Hugo" with my freedom fries. I will call it a "Hawthorne."

  • Bee||

    The only difference between now and in previous years is that the rich want to make it illegal for the poor to engage in the "inferior" behavior.


    RexRhino, you don't know much about history!

  • ||

    Taktix®,

    Yeah, yeah, but they both taste good and they're the only beers I drink.

    So, take it easy, have a pint and remember we're all friends here who have at least one thing in common. We've all hated the British at one time or another. ;)

  • ||

    "I think diet soda makes you fat."

    Trea, I think you are correct and it probably works like this: The brain is sent signals from the tongue that something sweet is being ingested. The brain, unable to tell artificial sweetners from sugars, instructs the pancreas to increase insulin production in anticipation of higher blood sugar. With insulin levels up with no increase in blood sugar level, blood sugar levels drop signaling the brain to give the body hunger pangs. The dieter is now hungrier than if they had drunk plain water or a sugared soda. Consequently, they eat more at their next meal or snack between meals.

    This has been a pet theory of mine since 1975, when I noticed that 20 years of diet pops seemed to have an adverse affect on the weight of its consumers. The additional 30 years has shown nothing to suggest the theory is flawed.

    Disclosure: I'm not a nutritionist, nor a medical doctor. I'm just a bean counter who loves concocting theories, conspiracy and otherwise.

  • ||

    Does Wendy's even have a small drink any more? I seem to recall that the last time I went there, the choices were Medium, Large, and Biggie Size.

    Mreh Mreh Mreh, Awesome Blossom, Mreh Mreh

  • ||

    Anyone remember MC 900 ft. Jesus?

    Whaddya think this is, some kinda joke?
    I want ten Big Macs and a small diet Coke.

  • M||

    But Mickee D's made the change for market reasons. I mean, people get to organize to inform consumers and goad corporations into changing their behavior as long as they don't use government coercion, right?



    I believe government coercion (until Rothbard is crowned Anarch) keeps McD from lying on its list of ingredients, forces it to list the largest quantity first, etc.

  • robc||

    Killian's is an American beer.

    Or is a Canadian beer? Either that or Molson is an American beer.

    Also, Miller is a South African beer.

  • ||

    CFisher,

    Already on the pint, simply parroting the victim class for fun.

    In the South Florida market, the Hugo is 69 cents as well. Funny how it's cheaper in the Hispanic markets. Hmm...

    Then again, most of the hispanic folk I work with do not go to American restaurants. They tend to bring lunch, made with groceries sold at Mexican grocers.

    I think thins story has a hint of the "you're less intelligent because you don't speak my native language" syndrome.

  • Sandy||

    NoStar:

    You sure it isn't because of the people who buy fat-laden cheeseburgers and then think they're reducing calories by not getting the sugary soda?

    Technically they are, but if they're under the impression that it's a real change in their diet or makes up for other areas, they're just as bad off.

  • ||

    "They do not have to go there," said Bob Goldin, executive vice president for Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm. "Common sense has to prevail. No one has to drink that big of a serving."

    What if you're really, really thirsty?

  • ||

    >Making matters worse, Hugo ads are available in several languages, making sure that minorities-who are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic-are aware of the budget beverage.

    I thought that's what was meant by "cultural competency," and we should all strive for it.

  • Thais Chavez||

    Hugo IS a big man, he can do whatever he wants and all the people love him and everything he does! Now they need a big gulp of coffee and call it the Fidel.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Somewhere in a young parallel universe, a New York Times just wrote, "Making matters worse, Hugo ads are only available in English, making sure that minorities are unable to purchase the favored beverage of the colonialist ruling class.

  • boo||

    You guys should seriously stop trying to guess what is going on in the minds of diet soda drinkers. I've never heard anyone say that it "cancels out the cheeseburger" or anything like that. Consider these options:

    a. eat a healthy meal
    b. eat 1000 calories worth of cheeseburger/fries and wash them down with a 300 calorie soda
    c. eat 1000 calories worth of cheeseburger/fries and wash them down with a near-zero calorie diet soda

    Obviously, option a is best, but my love of fast-food often overpowers my will power. So option c is clearly superior to option b (or b is even worse than c, to put it another way). Over the course of a year or several years, the difference will really add up. Furthermore, after all these years, I can't stand the taste of regular Coke or Pepsi.

    Do you diet soda-phobes make similar comments about someone who drinks water or unsweetened tea with their cheeseburger?

  • ||

    "Do you diet soda-phobes make similar comments about someone who drinks water or unsweetened tea with their cheeseburger?"

    No, because those mousey SOB's go unnoticed.

  • ||

    Taktix:

    What do you call Nicole Richie with a yeast infection?

    Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

  • highnumber||

    I really like the unsweetened iced tea. Alas, fewer & fewer fast food places serve it. They've switched to the goddamn already sweetened crap that comes from the soda fountain. Goddamn crap tastes like goddamn shit. Goddamn bastards.

    God/FSM/Zod bless McDonald's!

  • boo||

    I really like the unsweetened iced tea.

    Me too, but I really only drink it because I believe that it turns the cheeseburger into tofu and the fries into celery sticks.

  • Chavez is a thug||

    "making sure that minorities-who are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic"

    I love the language these idiots employ in this sentence. They seem to be implying that minorities are not responsible for their own obesity. Evidently they were bitten in disproportionate numbers by a mosquito that transmitted obesity. Must be the tropical climate. It seems that these minorities are also disproportionately avoiding the treadmill.

  • Chavez is a thug||

    "When it happens, Dan T. and joe will support it."

    Of course joe will support it. He's an expert in bariatric medicine; then again, in what field is he not an expert. After all, he has a master's degree, a signpost of his limitless genius.

  • Bill||

    "I didn't see anything in the article telling people "what they should be allowed to eat".

    Someone assumed the people who visit this board would be smart enough to infer that from reading the tone of the article. It's obvious he shouldn't have made that assumption.

  • ||

    Royale avec du fromage

  • thoreau||

    I'm all in favor of informing the public of how unhealthy the cheap crap is.

    I'm also jaded enough to realize that the response to this information will probably be calls for "action."

    And the best way to counter-act that is with more information. So NYT can go ahead and report about the evils of giant soda, the usual idiots can call for regulation, and the rest of us can explain why it's a dumb idea.

    Viva amendment numero uno!

  • ||

    I remember hearing a joke about a NY Times headline once:

    "METEOR DESTROYS EARTH. WOMEN AND MINORITIES HARDEST HIT."

  • ||

    piling on joe when he's not even posted in the thread!

    awesome!

    everybody drink!

  • ||

    highnumber,

    I half agree. Fountain tea is for sinners. Brewed tea is for the elect. However, as a crazed Southerner, I do like my brewed tea pre-sweetened.

  • robc||

    ProL,

    I do like my brewed tea pre-sweetened.

    Im confused. Is there another way to make it?

  • ||

    robc,

    No.

  • peter||

    what if it's a 42 oz DIET coke? would that satisfy the food police?

  • dhex||

    "everybody drink!"

    unsweetened tea!

    actually, there's this hippie japanese sounding company that makes a variety of unsweetened teas (greens, oolongs, white green tea, etc) that i can get in most local bodegas around here and it's really quite good. smallish, hexagonal bottle, white cap, a lot of stripes on the label, japanese name, etc.

    man this is going to bother me all day.

  • dhex||

    also how do you pre-sweeten brewed tea?

  • ||

    Clarification: Brewed tea that is sweetened before I get it.

    I've got one of those Mr. Coffee Iced Tea makers. Best danged thing since tea bags.

  • ||

    Most NY Times readers don't go to McDonalds on a regular basis and don't buy supersized drinks. This really doesn't affect their lives. Isn't the real reason the Times runs articles like this so that its readers can shake their heads in horror at the poor dietary habits of the Blacks, the Mexicans and assorted White trash and feel quietly superior?

  • ||

    It is highly amusing and telling that even when joe's not in a thread, he's in a thread.

  • ||

    Jesus, why get so exercised over a 42 ounce drink? Here in Houston it's rare for a restaurant not to offer automatic free refills on fountain drinks and tea, even to send a waitress out with the Coke pitcher, filling glasses. I can drink 60 ounces of unsweetened iced tea easy on a 100-degree July day. A 42-ounce glass is less than three refills of a small.

    Oh, and haggis is nothing more than underseasoned meatloaf with oats instead of bread crumbs. Sorry, Scotland, your deep fried Snickers and Irn-Bru are much more intimidating.

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