Courtesy McDonald's USA LLCNaturipe Farms LLC, Naples Fla., is supplying individual packets of fresh blueberries to McDonald's for use in the chain's seasonal blueberry banana nut oatmeal.(UPDATED COVERAGE, May 10) McDonald’s is offering fresh blueberries with oatmeal in a seasonal promotion that lasts through Aug. 3.
The blueberry banana nut oatmeal debuted May 7 and is available all day on the McDonald’s menu. McDonald’s fruit and maple oatmeal, which includes fresh apple pieces, is still available.
Naturipe Farms LLC is supplying snack-size blueberry packs to McDonald’s for the oatmeal deal, said Robert Verloop, executive vice president of marketing for the Naples, Fla., company.
“We are providing them with our ready-to-eat fresh product,” Verloop said May 7. “It is fantastic to see blueberries expand in distribution and reach into new channels.”
Naturipe is packing the blueberries in Georgia and California. Verloop said Naturipe plans to eventually offer blueberries in the ready-to-eat packaging year-round to retailers, with different pack styles planned to meet customer needs.
Mark Villata, executive director of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, said the seasonal use by McDonald’s is great news for the blueberry industry. It will help keep the fruit on consumers’ minds during the season, Villata said, which should translate into increased sales.
The chain of more than 14,000 quick-serve restaurants is considering doing even more with blueberries.
“A limited number of McDonald’s restaurants are offering a la carte blueberries as part of a short-term menu test,” company spokeswoman Molly McKenna said May 10.
McKenna said the company opted to buy 1.25-ounce packets of blueberries instead of bulk berries to ensure customers reeived the correct portion with their oatmeal and to speed preparation.
“Customers told us they want their oatmeal assembled and served quickly, and this process allows us to do that,” McKenna said.
“If a customer chooses, they can request blueberries on the side, and they would receive an individual packet of blueberries with their order of oatmeal.”
The new oatmeal includes about a quarter cup of fresh blueberries in each serving, along with walnuts and a dried crushed bananas, according to McDonald’s website.
The senior director of nutrition for McDonald’s USA said the oatmeal continues the chain’s efforts to offer customers healthy options.
McDonald’s officials said they are using mostly U.S. blueberries, with supplemental supplies coming from Mexico.