McDonald's Shakes Up Beverage Offerings

OAK BROOK, Ill. — McDonald's Corp. is making multiple changes to its beverage offerings.

Starting in April, the company plans to offer $1 sodas of any size for a limited time, reported the Associated Press. It will also offer smoothies, frappes and shakes for just $2 each.

The fast food chain also launched special re-engineered, limited-edition straws alongside the Chocolate Shamrock Shake, one of four new seasonal McCafé beverages. The shake has dual layers of chocolate and the traditional Shamrock Shake flavoring. To deliver the ideal flavor ratio of 50 percent chocolate and 50 percent mint in each sip, McDonald's worked with engineering firms to create a special straw.

JACE and NK Labs created the "probably-more-revolutionary-than-actually-needed" Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal (STRAW), according to the company. Its j-shape reportedly provides optimal flavor flow dynamics.

"It was a puzzling assignment but one with an ambitious goal," said Seth Newburg, principal engineer and managing partner at NK Labs. "From a physics perspective, it's actually quite difficult to deliver a proportional amount of both chocolate and mint flavors with each sip. But that's exactly what we did. It's a marvel of fluid dynamics. Thanks Fibonacci sequence."

Due to the STRAW's unique design, only 2,000 were produced in time for Shamrock season. It will be available in select participating restaurants with the purchase of a Chocolate Shamrock Shake. A list of participating locations can be found here.

"We're always listening to what our customers want and reinventing our menu in response," said Darci Forrest, senior director of menu innovation at McDonald's. "And though it might sound silly to some, putting our guests first sometimes means re-thinking even the humble straw. We reached out to some of the brightest engineers in the country and asked for their help to create the ultimate shake-drinking experience."

Along with the Chocolate Shamrock Shake, McDonald's launched three new limited-time McCafé items: the Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappé, the Shamrock Mocha and the Shamrock Hot Chocolate.

As part of Shamrock season, McDonald's will donate 25 cents from each purchased McCafé Shamrock Chocolate beverage to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) during the week of March 11-17. The Shamrock Shake has been a key part of fundraising for RMHC since 1974, when the first Ronald McDonald House opened, the company said.

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