~By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY
A nation swimming in new products with sea salt is about to get the clincher: sea salt fries.
On Thursday, Wendy's will unveil Natural-Cut Sea Salt Fries — revamped french fries of 100% russet potatoes, cut with the skin on, sprinkled with sea salt.
The move comes as sea salt has set consumer hearts aflutter and invaded American pantries. In 2010, 1,350 new products with sea salt as an ingredient have been introduced, research giant Mintel says. The percentage of all foods and beverages with sea salt jumped from 5% in 2006 to more than 8% in 2010, Mintel says.
"Sea salt has the potential to grow as fast as low-carb did," says Lynn Dornblaser, new products guru at Mintel. "Hopefully, it won't decline as fast."
Wendy's, which continues to lose share to McDonald's, is in the midst of a companywide move to stress the wholesomeness of its food. It opted to fix the fries by using better potatoes cut a new way — and sprinkled with sea salt.
"Wendy's has never had the best french fry," concedes marketing chief Ken Calwell. "If it's not your strength, you can start with a clean sheet."
Why sea salt? "There's a halo that goes with it. People associate it with good, natural things."
They also link it with flavor. The typically bigger salt granules can add more flavor with less salt.
I'd like to think I had a little bit to do with this. If I may refresh your memory...
Dear Mr. President
Um...Mrs. Schmidt, if you're reading, don't click on the link. Just know that it was my mini-rant against Wendy's fries...
Anyhoo, I don't really care who gets credit for this idea. The important fact is that Wendy's is introducing new fries!! Wendy's is introducing new fries!!
Now if we can just get the Wendy's folks to cook the fries thoroughly... Baby steps, I suppose. :)