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What Happened to McDonald's Yogurt Parfait?

Originally introduced in the year 2000, the McDonald's Fruit and Yogurt Parfait was a big hit among those who were seeking healthier options at the fast food chain. For many years the Yogurt Parfait was in high demand at McDonald's restaurants all over the world, but today it's nowhere to be found. What happened to this light, fun and healthy snack? Join us as we take a deep dive…

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What Happened to McDonald's Yogurt Parfait? - What's in this guide?

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What is the McDonald's Yogurt Parfait

The McDonald's Yogurt Parfait is a light and airy yogurt-based snack in a cup. It contains low fat custard-style yogurt, layered with about 5 whole blueberries and a 5 oz. serving of fresh strawberries. Sprinkled on top is a crunchy and sweet toasted Nature Valley granola. The Parfait comes in a clear plastic cup with a plastic spoon affixed to the side and branded with the famous McDonald's arches. The granola is packaged separately in a small packet, making this gourmet-style side dish portable and easy to eat, even on the go.

How much does it cost?

The Yogurt Parfait was initially offered on the McDonald's menu for $1. Prices rose as high as $1.19 before the product was discontinued in April of 2020.

How many calories does it have?

The Mcdonald's Yogurt Parfait has 150 calories.

What happened?

In a period of about 20 years, the Yogurt Parfait went from worldwide popularity to complete obscurity and obsolescence. Here's how it happened…

Initial Launch and Market Adoption (2000s)

The McDonald's Yogurt Parfait first appeared back in the year 2000, debuting with a fun commercial showing three young ladies cruising through a McDonald's drive through, ordering a round of parfaits. Before they even exit the parking lot, they swing their blue open-topped convertible around again and order three more. This was part of the 'We Love to See You Smile' marketing campaign, and put the snack on the map. As part of a larger push for healthier options at McDonald's, The Parfait quickly became a popular menu item and hit that sweet spot between two major marketing objectives at the time for the fast food chain. On one hand, healthier menu items like wraps and salads were proliferating at McDonald's locations around the nation, and The Parfait fit right in with that strategy. In addition, McDonald's was also embarking on a major initiative to expand the so-called Dollar Menu. Although it functioned as a loss leader for the company, the Dollar Menu is credited with McDonald's resurgence and growth during the period. The Yogurt Parfait was a standout on that menu and provided a great alternative to desserts at McDonald's which included milkshakes, soft serve, and the mighty McFlurry.

Downsizing and Decline (2010s)

After the financial crisis of 2008, customers started to notice some changes with the Yogurt Parfait. Most notably the portion size was reduced drastically, with the general consensus being that the snack was suddenly about half of its original size. Although still very much in demand in 2010, this became a widespread problem in numerous McDonald's locations. By 2018, customers started reporting that in addition to being about half the size, the price had risen about 20%. Moreover, the snack was now being assembled much more hastily with the fruit dumped at the bottom of the cup, below the yogurt, instead of being layered in the middle of two scoops of yogurt. This turned the snack from an artisan creation into the product of an assembly line and, to the dismay of faithful customers, lowered the overall quality substantially.

Coronavirus Pandemic and Discontinuation (2020)

When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit in March of 2020, McDonald's discontinued some menu items almost immediately. By April, the fast food chain put a heavy focus on its drive-through operations in order to provide a touchless experience for its diners. In order to provide speed and efficiency in fulfilling orders, meals assembled at the drive-through window have to be comprised of items that are easy to prepare, and the Yogurt Parfait simply didn't fit the bill. With franchisees already cutting corners in preparing the dish by putting the fruit at the bottom, a perfectly prepped parfait was simply not a priority in a post-pandemic world. While fans of the dish hoped its suspension would be temporary, a June 2020 announcement by McDonald's quashed any such hope. Unhealthy items like ice cream cones, cookies, and double bacon cheeseburgers made a return to the menu while healthier options like salads and the Yogurt Parfait were left off indefinitely. You still can't find the Yogurt Parfait at McDonald's today, and if you want to get close to tasting it, you'll have to rely on the many copycat and knock off recipes found online.

Final Thoughts

The Yogurt Parfait from McDonald's made a steep rise to glory after its debut more than 20 years ago. Despite its growing popularity and the goodwill it earned McDonald's as a healthy menu option, the company's focus on quick preparation and touchless service during the pandemic rendered The Parfait obsolete. In addition, the items it did choose to bring back skewed toward quickly-prepared unhealthy options. We hope our guide has helped give you a good understanding of the history of this famous snack, and we certainly hope to see it make a triumphant return to the menu one day. But until then… McFlurry anyone?

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