Fact Check

Big Mac Went from $0.50 to $8 Yet Lost 40% of Its Size Since 1980?

Social media users claimed the well-known burger fell victim to shrinkflation.

Published May 15, 2024

 (X user @Vivek4real_)
Image courtesy of X user @Vivek4real_
Claim:
From 1980 to 2024, a Big Mac's price increased from $0.50 to $8, yet it lost 40% of its size.

In late April and early May 2024, a rumor went viral online, claiming that from 1980 to 2024, the price of McDonald's classic burger, the Big Mac, increased from $0.50 to $8 yet it lost 40% of its size. "Big Mac went from $0.50 to $8 and lost 40% of its size from 1980-2024," one?X post with the claim read, adding, "#Bitcoin fixes this."

"From 1980 to 2020 the?@McDonalds Big Mac gone from $0.50 to $8 and lost ~40% of its size. 2% transitory inflation, right?," a 2021?post by the @Bitcoin X account said. The same or similar claims were spread by various social media accounts promoting cryptocurrencies as a safe anti-inflation investment, claiming "that's why we need #Bitcoin." Many of the posts included a photograph?allegedly showing a change in the Big Mac's size.??

McDonald's 'Big Mac's' have gotten smaller since the 70's for sure!
byu/NotWorthyByAnyMeans innostalgia

A YouTube video from 2010 showed a "study of McDonald's iconic burger Big Mac over a 24 year period," asking in the description, "Is the Big Mac as big as it used to be?"?Some social media users argued, however, that the viral photo showed a?Grand Big Mac?placed next to?a regular Big Mac.

We found no demonstrable evidence to support the viral claim, so we have rated it as "Unfounded."?

First, let's take a look at the alleged change in Big Mac's price between 1980 and 2024. McDonald's introduced the burger in 1967, and it cost less than a dollar at that time. However, as various sources indicated, in the 1980s its price increased to more than?$1— in 1986, when The Economist's Big Mac Index was introduced, it cost?$1.60. Statista, an online platform that specializes in data gathering,?indicated that as of January 2024, Switzerland had the most expensive Big Macs in the world ($8.17). The average cost of a Big Mac in the U.S. was $5.69, while in the Eurozone it was $5.87.

The second part of the claim alleged a 40% decrease in Big Mac's size from 1980 to 2024.?The debate on whether the size of the Big Mac has changed over the years has spread online extensively. For instance, Zachary Brewer,?describing himself as former McDonald's employee,?stated on Quora that when the Big Mac was introduced, it was made with two quarter-pound (4-ounce), precooked beef patties, but now uses two 1.6-ounce patties, which is the same size as the company's regular hamburgers. However, many comments suggested that wasn't the case. "The original McDonald's sandwiches are of the same size spec as they were back in the 1960's. There have been changes over the years in bun recipes, meat fat content, and types of onion and cheese. But size size wise, nothing has changed," one user responded.

When a similar debate sparked in Australia,?McDonald's denied changes to burger sizes:

A spokesperson for McDonald's told Yahoo News Australia there have been no changes to the size of its burgers.

The spokesperson emphasised McDonald's commitment to quality and great value for its customers.

"We are committed to offering our customers great quality, great value burgers featuring 100 per cent RSPCA Approved Chicken and 100 per cent Aussie beef," said the spokesperson.

Using Wayback Machine,?an internet archive tool, we found that according to?McDonald's website and "McDonald's USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items," the weight of the Big Mac has undergone minor adjustments, changing by merely 0.1 ounce over the years. The weight of the Big Mac?in?2008?and 2011?was 7.5 ounces; however, in 2012?and?2013 it changed to 7.6 ounces, while in 2014?and 2015, it was 7.4 ounces. In 2016, the Big Mac's weight returned to 7.5 ounces.?

We found no substantiated evidence to support assertions that between 1980 and 2024 the Big Mac's size decreased by 40%. No reliable sources, including McDonald's website and official statements or credible news outlets, have confirmed any significant reduction in the size of the Big Mac. Such rumors may have stemmed from anecdotal observations or individual perceptions, lacking factual evidence.

We contacted?McDonald's Team via email and will update this article if we receive a response.?

In March 2021, we investigated?a similar claim on whether the price of a Big Mac in Denmark was substantially more than the price of a Big Mac in the United States.

Sources

1986 Big Mac Index. 19 Feb. 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20160219173338/https://bigmacindex.org/1986-big-mac-index.html.

A Meal Disguised as a Sandwich: The Big Mac | Pennsylvania Center for the Book. https://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/literary-cultural-heritage-map-pa/feature-articles/meal-disguised-sandwich-big-mac. Accessed 13 May 2024.

Archive, View Author, et al. Are McDonald's Burgers Shrinking? Former Chef Explains. 16 Feb. 2024, https://nypost.com/2024/02/16/lifestyle/are-mcdonalds-burgers-shrinking-former-chef-explains/.

Big Mac?: Calories and Nutrition | McDonald's. https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/product/big-mac.html. Accessed 13 May 2024.

"Big Mac Index 2024." Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/274326/big-mac-index-global-prices-for-a-big-mac/. Accessed 13 May 2024.

Bingham, Kirstie. "Fans Are Debating Whether The Big Mac Has Been 'Shrinking' Over The Years." Mashed, 26 Mar. 2022, https://www.mashed.com/811801/fans-are-debating-whether-the-big-mac-has-been-shrinking-over-the-years/.

Evon, Dan. "Is a Big Mac in Denmark Pricier Than in US?" Snopes, 14 Mar. 2021, //fact-check/big-mac-cost-denmark/.

Fast Food Prices Jump More than Any Single Year since 1981 | 13newsnow.Com. 21 Apr. 2022, https://web.archive.org/web/20220421003906/https://www.13newsnow.com/article/news/history/13news-now-vault-fast-food-prices-1981/291-28221f2b-3457-43f7-aac7-c559815d5394.

Grand Big Mac? | McDonald's Australia. https://mcdonalds.com.au/menu/grand-big-mac. Accessed 13 May 2024.

"McDonald's Responds to Claims Its Popular Burgers Have Shrunk." Yahoo News, 15 Aug. 2022, https://au.news.yahoo.com/mc-donalds-responds-to-claims-its-popular-burgers-have-shrunk-055245468.html.

McDonald's USA - McDonald's Nutrition Facts. https://web.archive.org/web/20081224234704/nutrition.mcdonalds.com/nutritionexchange/nutrition_facts.html. Accessed 13 May 2024.

"Our Big Mac Index Shows How Burger Prices Are Changing." The Economist, 25 Jan. 2024, https://www.economist.com/big-mac-index.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.