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Burger King's New Offering Joins Mashed-Up Food Trend

MIAMI — Starting Monday, Burger King will answer the call of mac n’ cheese and Cheetos lovers alike with its new Mac n’ Cheetos, which will be available in select locations nationwide.  

The burger chain takes its deep-fried sticks of macaroni cheese and encrusts them in a Cheetos-flavored shell, according to The Washington Post. Mac n’ Cheetos will be available for $2.49 and come with ranch dressing on the side. They have 310 calories each.

“Mac n’ Cheetos are a doubly cheesy combination of warm mac n’ cheese covered with that crispy Cheetos flavor everyone loves,” Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America, said in a statement.

Mac n’ Cheetos could be the next fast-food mash-up sensation, as it combine an ultra-trendy food item with a brand that has massive recognition, according to Bonnie Riggs, NPD Group restaurant analyst.

“I think it’s really unique,” Riggs said. “It’s something that will appeal to their core audience of millennials and Gen Z customers.”

Mac n’ Cheetos joins the mashed-up food trend alongside Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco and convenience store operator 7-Eleven Inc.’s Doritos Loaded. The triangle of cheese snack is deep-fried and covered in Doritos. It is available for $1.99, as CSNews Online reported.

While Mac n’ Cheetos may seem like a contradiction of America’s quest to eat healthy, often what Americans say they want doesn’t match up with what they purchase, Elizabeth Friend, consumer foodservice strategy analyst for Euromonitor, commented.

“When we are so focused on trying to make healthy decisions all the time and eating food that we can feel good about, when we do want to indulge, we want to make sure that that indulgence is worth it,” she said.

Meeting the trends of this new landscape, fast-food restaurants including Burger King and Taco Bell aim for younger customers seeking “experience-driven foods." McDonald’s has pared down its offerings and improved core menu items, and also made its breakfast menu available all day. Wendy’s has also kept pace by expanding its artisanal selections like its pretzel bun, according to the news outlet.

Burger King has been doing it better than just about everyone else, according to Friend. Its Halloween burger — which featured a co-branding with A1 steak sauce and a black bun — and chicken fries has generated buzz and drawn customers in.

In 2015, the fast-food chain’s sales grew 5.7 percent. The amount of Burger King stores in the U.S. has remained steady at 7,100, but company executives have said they could add thousands more in the next five years, The Washington Post reported.

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