Fast Food Face-Off: McDonald's Fries Versus Hungry Jack's Fries

Fast Food Face-Off is a new, occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare two seemingly identical takeaway products from rival stores to determine which offers the best value. Today: McDonald's fries versus Hungry Jack's fries.

A burger from McDonald's or Hungry Jack's just isn't complete without a side of french fries -- one simply shouldn't exist without the other. But which fast food outlet produces the superior chip?

In a bid to find out, we purchased a standalone order of small fries from both franchises. While one french fry looks much like another, there are some significant differences in price, nutritional value and taste that become readily apparent in a side-by-side comparison. Let's take a look at each in turn.

Price

McDonald's is currently selling a standalone small fries for $1 as part of its semi-permanent "Loose Change" menu. A small fries from Hungry Jack's, meanwhile, will set you back $2.50.

This really surprised us. Hungry Jack's positions itself as a cheaper alternative to McDonald's, with combo prices generally coming in a dollar or two below its rival. Its breakfast menu is also more affordable, with Egg & Bacon Muffins costing just $2. Clearly, this aggressive pricing strategy doesn't extend to french fries.

To be fair, hardly anyone purchases a small fries unless it's part of a combo, but that's no excuse for Hungry Jack's to charge through the roof. When it comes to value for money, McDonald's is the clear winner.

Appearance

Unlike takeaway pizzas or breakfast muffins, there's not much variation when it comes to the appearance of fries. (Note: we're specifically referring to french fries here, rather than hot chips which do come in many shapes and sizes.)

As the below pictures testify, there's not much to distinguish a McDonald's french fry from its Hungry Jack's counterpart -- we reckon even their potato mums would have a hard time telling 'em apart.

Both offerings are roughly the same width, length and colour. If you look carefully, the Hungry Jack's chips are a bit darker and also a slightly drier looking but there's not much in it. When judged on appearance alone, we'd call this a draw.

Quantity

In our experience, McDonald's tends to be pretty uniform with its fries distribution: each bag contains roughly the same amount of chips which are doled out by a metal scooping utensil.

Hungry Jack's, on the other hand, seems to have a looser policy in place; especially when it comes to takeaway orders. The brown carry bag almost always contains a bunch of stowaway chips that add up to a significantly higher total. Unfortunately, the higher asking price renders this generosity moot. Until Hungry Jack's brings its prices down, McDonald's is still better value.

Nutritional breakdown

Energy Fat Sugars Sodium
McDonald's fries (small) 1070kJ 13.7g 0.31g 245mg
Hungry Jack's fries (small) 999kJ 12.4g 0.4g 262mg

 

As you can see, the Hungry Jack's small fries has less energy and fat than its McDonald's counterpart. However, the McDonald's fries contains fewer sugars and sodium.

The difference is pretty negligible, but if you're currently on a diet and carefully counting calories, Hungry Jack's is a (slightly) better choice.

Taste

We enlisted a handful of co-workers to taste-test both types of fries. The general consensus was that the McDonald's fries were superior due to their fluffier insides. They also had a slightly sweeter aftertaste which made for a more flavorsome chip.

The Hungry Jack's chips weren't as moist, although they seemed to have a better crunch which counter-balanced the dry texture. If we could only pick one, we'd probably plump for the McDonald's chip. To be honest, neither chip was spectacular -- your local takeaway shop is almost certain to trounce both of them.

Winner: McDonald's fries

McDonald's fries aren't nearly as tasty as they once were, but they still enjoy a slight edge over Hungry Jack's. The real reason they reign supreme is price: at a single dollar, a small fries from McDonald's is significantly cheaper than the competition.

What would you like to see in the next face-off? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.


Comments

    I did a 4 year tour of duty at HJ's
    Just the scent of their fries makes me chunder...
    Yet i'm not phased by Maccas at all

    I worked at Red Rooster for 5 years and still think their chips are the best for fast food. They are even better if you ask for them to be cooked for an extra minute or two.

    Branching out further though, Salsa's, Shcnitz and Nando's (with peri salt) are all amazing.

    Last edited 10/07/14 12:32 pm

      Agreed! Schnitz chips are amazing! Far above any other chain....

      The chips at the red rooster near me suck, they are always undercooked and overly greasy. Though it may just be a dodgy store, I remember them being a lot better from the one near where I used to work.

      Agreed Rooty Rooter chips are the best fast takeway chips.

    Fries seem pretty boring. I always ask for onion rings as a side instead of fries at HJ.

      Every now and then I forget and order them and then am disappointed that they are not real onion rings. In the US I got excited and ordered them and they are the same as here :(

    Great series but Mcdonalds fries are a force to be reckoned with, they are a SUPER food group of their own !!!

    The biggest contributor to your enjoyment of fries is the Manager at the Restuarant, if Fries sit out for too long or the Oil isn't changed often enough the Fries will be terrible. In Brisbane I find McDonalds are following a policy that makes you wait longer and gives you better fries. The Local Hungry Jack's seem to let them sit forever and when you do get a fresh batch, the oil seems too old and the smoke point too low.

    Last edited 10/07/14 1:34 pm

    Fries? MOAR BURGER!

    All I know is I had my $5 box ftoday and the KFC chips were great!

    And the winner will always be the Red Rooster chips.
    My god they are the greatest chips ever.

    Is it a coincidence that one half of burger box from Maccas can hold a large fries almost perfectly?

    I remember as a kid calling the extra chips bag scum and there was always the equivalent of another bag of medium fries but now the only chips on the bottom are the ones that fell out.

    The best fast food fries are:

    Oportos

    KFC (when cooked properly)

    Mcdonalds

    and thats it ...

      KFC (when cooked properly)

      This. Macca's always wins because they are the most consistent tasting of all the chains, they almost always taste the same so you know what to expect. KFC have better chips when done properly, but their consistency is all over the joint, even when you ask to wait for a fresh batch.

        And KFC used to have a good quantity of seasoning, but these days its rare to get any at all.

        KFC chips in america are the best though, great tasting wedges.

    Sample size much too small. Go to a number of different places at different times of the day.

    You should compare Red Rooster chips. They are the best and will win against any of the imposter fries. Go Red Rooster!

    Do thickshakes next

    Until Hungry Jack’s brings its prices down, McDonald’s is still better value
    A comparison on weight of each of the small fries would have helped justify this claim. You could then work out how much each costs per 100g and show the value that way.

    your local takeaway shop is almost certain to trounce both of them
    Disappointingly, this isn't always true.

    Your white balance is all over the place, which makes comparison photos of limited value.

    Conclusion: they're both as equally disgusting as each other.

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