Here's What McDonald's Served Before Fries Were On The Menu

When someone mentions McDonald's, you likely think of hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and french fries. Okay, maybe just the french fries. After all, McDonald's sells a ridiculous amount of fries each day – more than nine million pounds each day, per Fact Retriever. That's more than 3.2 billion pounds each year.

If that seems like a lot (to be fair, it is), think about how good McDonald's fries taste and how addictive they are. Part of this comes down to what's really in McDonald's french fries. Yes, there's potatoes, salt, and oil, but there's also beef flavoring and countless preservatives.

One such preservative, sodium propionate, is responsible for a McDonald's french fry's disturbing longevity (via Fact Retriever). However, you probably shouldn't eat a fry that's been sitting around for three years, even if it still looks okay.

Despite McDonald's fries being a staple menu item, they actually weren't always on the menu. For the first several years of being in business, McDonald's served a different form of potato as its side.

McDonald's french fries replaced its potato chips

While it seems like McDonald's fries have been around forever, they didn't join the menu until 1949 — nine years after the first McDonald's opened. According to Reader's Digest, before McDonald's introduced french fries, it served potato chips.

During these early years, the McDonald's menu only featured nine items: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, soft drinks, coffee, milk, potato chips, and pie, explained Corporate McDonald's. Today, a McDonald's hamburger costs around $2.50 (via Real Menu Prices), but back when the chain was still selling potato chips, a hamburger only cost $0.15 (or about $1.58, if you account for inflation).

Potato chips are good, don't get us wrong, but fries definitely seem more fitting for McDonald's. After all, when you look at a fast-food menu, you don't see "burger and chips," you see "burger and fries." And that's the way it should be. Besides, per Those Foods, french fries actually contain fewer calories and lower amounts of fat and carbs than potato chips. They're still not healthy by any means, but fries may be the lesser of two evils.