Wendy's New "Natural" Fries: More Calories, More Salt, More Foodies?

wendys, french fries, 4x3
Wendy's/AP Photo
wendys, french fries, 4x3
(Wendy's/AP Photo)

(CBS/AP) They might not be any healthier, but Wendy's is hoping its new slimmed-down "natural" fries will help draw in a "foodie" crowd with discerning tastes.

The fast food chain is introducing fries that are thinner, smaller, and crispier than the ones they replace. The reworked fries are made with Russett potatoes, with the skin left on, and topped with sea salt.

The fries are slated to appear on Thursday and roll out over the next two weeks.

This is the first major overhaul of the 41-year-old company's fries, although it has adjusted the recipe in the past.

Why the change?

"We want every ingredient to be a simple ingredient, to be one you can pronounce and one your grandmother would recognize in her pantry," said Ken Calwell, Wendy's chief marketing officer.

People want more natural foods and they want to know where they come from, he said. Having the skin on is a way to remind people that fries come from potatoes, he said, adding that testing showed that some people think restaurant fries are processed foods.

One thing that won't change for the better will be nutrition: The new fries will pack more sodium - a medium size fry goes from 350 milligrams to 500 milligrams (sea salt is no better for you than table salt) - and calories jumps 10 to 420.