CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- McDonald's fries returned to Venezuela with much fanfare, but after a 10-month absence the price of the salty snacks may be hard for some customers to stomach.
The announcement was accompanied by billboards and a social media campaign heralding the return of french fries to the menu. While the advertising did serve to drum up a significant amount of hype, the news came with one pretty significant catch.
The massive fast food chain was able to bring the fries back by sourcing them from Venezuelan potatoes, as opposed to the expensive alternative of importing them. These savings however, were not passed on to the consumer.
The fries cost nearly 20 percent more than they did before disappearing from the menu last winter. This price not only far surpasses the cost of the cassava based replacements the restaurant had been offering in their absence, but also makes an order of regular size fries more expensive than some combo meals.
For comparison, an order of regular fries currently costs the Venezuelan equivalent of $78.75 while a McDuo, which contains a hamburger and a drink, costs roughly $69.30 using Venezuela's official exchange rate.
These high prices call attention to Venezuela's abysmal economy as Fusion notes that a large order of fries would only cost $1.15 cents on Venezuela's black market.
Despite the initial excitement, the announcement has been met with some negative backlash on social media as some see the high cost of the fries and their initial absence as a direct result of the country's poor economic state.
"Daring new elongated rectangular fried potato stick design considered radical departure for burger chain best known for fried cassava snacks," was a tagline on Caracas Chronicle, a Venezuelan blog based out of Chile.
The site lampooned the issue writing, "You know your country is a global punchline when this is an actual story in the news."