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McDonald’s experiments with chicken chorizo in Hawaii

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McDonald’s Corp. is trying to appeal to fans of chorizo sausage with a new burrito. There’s one catch: It’s made from chicken.

About 2,000 McDonald’s restaurants in Texas, Hawaii and the Midwest started selling chorizo breakfast burritos last month, Terri Hickey, a spokeswoman for the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company, said in an e-mail. The wraps are made with dark-meat chicken, instead of the traditional pork, and include scrambled eggs, roma tomatoes, green chilies, onions and white cheddar cheese. The chicken is flavored with chorizo seasoning that includes paprika, chili and chipotle pepper.

“They’re just trying to have some new news to get people to come back into the stores — they’re really struggling,” said Bob Goldin, executive vice president at Technomic Inc. in Chicago. “Some of the the younger consumers like a bolder flavor.”

Fast-food chains are trying to introduce items that can stem the flow of millennials to fast-casual chains, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. They’ve recently added more spicy fare and pork items as fancier restaurants have hyped the other white meat — labeling it coppa and lardon, as well as tossing it into trendy ramen-noodle soups under names such as porchetta.

Wendy’s Co. is introducing barbecue pulled-pork sandwiches and burgers across the U.S. McDonald’s also recently added jalapeno burgers to its menu, while Burger King Worldwide Inc. has a bacon burger topped with A.1. sauce.

While beef consumption per capita is expected to decline 3.3 percent next year, Americans are chowing down on more pork, data from the USDA show. In 2015, people in the U.S. may eat 46.1 pounds of pork, on average, 1.1 percent more than this year. Chicken consumption also is forecast to rise next year.

McDonald’s, the world’s biggest restaurant chain, has struggled recently to boost revenue. Sales at U.S. locations open at least 13 months dropped 2.8 percent in August, the fourth straight monthly decline. Burritos may help McDonald’s better compete with Taco Bell’s new breakfast foods. The chain, owned by Yum! Brands Inc., earlier this year began selling morning fare, including bacon-and-cheese burritos, waffle tacos and hash browns nationwide.

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