updated - September 23, 2014 Tuesday EDT
McDonald’s is bringing Fish McBites to its Happy Meal in a bid to add variety to its menu, AP reports.
The giant fast food franchise stated that Fish McBites will be widely available across its chain of restaurants in the U.S. restaurants starting this week through March, to coincide with Lent.
The Happy Meals will come with seven pieces of Fish McBites, French fries, apple slices and a drink.
The company announced last month that Fish McBites would be sold on the standard menu in three sizes — snack (10 pieces), regular (15 pieces) and shareable (30 pieces).
Fish McBites, which are fried pieces of fish, will use the same Alaskan cod used in the fast-food chain's Filet-O-Fish sandwich.
The launch marks the start of what McDonald's says is a bigger pipeline of new limited-time offers for the year ahead.
By adding more variety to its menu, the company is hoping it can fend off intensifying competition and tempt customers to eat out more at a time when many are being more careful about their spending.
Brian Irwin, director of marketing for McDonald's USA, said Fish McBites are a twist on the popular Chicken McBites that were introduced as a limited-time offer last year. He said the company thought they would work well in Happy Meals because there's a "fun, poppable" aspect to them.
McDonald's sells more Happy Meals with Chicken McNuggets than hamburgers or cheeseburgers, he said — because there's something about dipping the nuggets in sauces that kids like.
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