Theory of McRib Arbitrage Update
September 18, 2012
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About a year back, TheAwl pointed out how it looks like McDonald’s releases the McRib when pork prices are low as an arbitrage strategy. Fascinating story. This graph was posted in evidence of the theory:
But now, we get word that McDonald’s is delaying the reintroduction of the McRib this year:
And now, to round it all out, someone at McDonald’s has just leaked a memo that the seasonal McRib–normally out in October–won’t return to the Mickey D’s menu boards until the second half of December.
(Which, should conspiracy theorists be believed, actually means we’ll only get to savor our favorite wintry fare for about a week before everything goes to hell.)
The reason for the dreadful change in season? The weather, supposedly. According to Ad Age, fourth-quarter 2011 and first quarter 2012 “marked one of the mildest winters in years”–boosting McDonald’s sales to up to 9.8%, and giving them ample reason to attempt to match that number this year by delaying the McRib’s release.
Well, what does the price of pork look like right now?
Yup. Looks like McDonald’s is waiting for the price to drop.